Gilda Radner or Lisa Loopner
inMarch 1, 2013 - 9:08am
My very favorite female comedian is the wonderful Gilda Radner, original member of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players. She was one of the greatest comic geniuses of the 20th century being compared with such greats as Lucille Ball. Saturday Night Live premiered on October 11, 1975 as NBC’s Saturday Night. The cast consisted of Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris and Chevy Chase.
Gilda quickly became my idol when she appeared as Lisa Loopner. I knew school friends who were exactly as Lisa, dripping sinuses, fuzzy bad hair, ill fitting clothes and a Mother who lived in her bathrobe. Egg salad was changed for me forever.
She also played Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella, Baba Wawa, Candy Slice and let's not forget the Judy Miller Show! She created a full range of personalities for these characters that brought laughter to the Saturday Night Live viewing audience. In addition to her original characters she also parodied Lucille Ball, Patti Smith and Olga Korbut in SNL’s comedy sketches.
She was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 28, 1946 to Henrietta and Herman Radner with an older brother Michael. Her nanny was Elizabeth Clementine Gillies on whom she based her famous character Emily Litella, an elderly woman with a hearing problem who made regular appearances on the Weekend Update Segment.
She attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where she started her broadcasting career as the weather girl for the college radio station. She dropped out in her senior year to move to Canada with her then boyfriend. There she made her debut in a 1972 production of Godspell, later joining the Toronto Second City comedy troupe. In 1974 she joined the National Lampoon Radio House and met up with fellow cast members John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray.
She was the first member of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players for the first season of Saturday Night Live in 1975. She made three movies with her second husband Gene Wilder:Hanky Panky, The Woman in Red and Haunted Honeymoon. They were married on September 18, 1984.
On October 21, 1986 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Sadly due to many false diagnoses this was caught very late. She endured months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments but she passed away on May 20, 1989 at the age of 43.
Her early death helped to raise awareness of early detection of ovarian cancer. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center hosts the Gilda Radner Ovarian Detection Center, established by her husband Gene Wilder. Her skits from the early years can be found all over u-tube and if you are looking for a good read try, "It’s Always Something", her autobiography.
Christine Moore Alley Cats Vintage