Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gilda Radner

My first review at was Gilda Radner's book, It's Always Something.

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the fabulous Gilda, I'd like to share the review with you.

Gilda Radner, an original member of Saturday Night Live, died of ovarian cancer at the age of 42 in 1989. Radner was best known for a number of zany characters she created on that ground breaking show including the obnoxious Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella the substitute teacher, and the nerdy Lisa Loopner to Bill Murray’s equally nerdy Todd.

Back in May of this year, Simon & Schuster released a 20th anniversary edition of Radner’s memoir, It’s Always Something, in which she reflects on her life, illness and her determination to continue living life on the sunny side. Alan Zweibel, who writes the new forward, says “Gilda told me, ‘My comedy is my only weapon against this thing.’”

Radner chronicles the health problems that began to plague her while filming Haunted Honeymoon in 1986 with her husband, the comedic actor Gene Wilder. After months of misdiagnoses, she learned she had ovarian cancer. Radner goes through a sundry list of why’s and maybes and what if’s but sometimes cancer doesn’t need any good reason why.

Upon successful chemo and radiation treatment, Radner began work on her memoir, It’s Always Something, a tip to her character Roseanne Rosannadanna. Through her book, Radner hoped to imbue other cancer patients with a sense of humor, courage and hope. Sadly in 1988 she learned her cancer had returned. On May 17, 1989 Radner was admitted to the hospital for a CAT Scan and died three days later on May 20, 1989 just two months before the release of her book.

Zweibel says that toward the end of her life, Radner was on a crusade to show people that cancer patients could live quality lives if they have the right attitude, and “I think she would have been incredibly pleased that this was part of her legacy and that her campaign and her memory still lives on.”

Gilda as Emily Litella on Weekend Update with Chevy Chase

Gilda embodies the 70's for me. One of my favorite quotes from Gilda is this gem for the fashionista in all of us: I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch. Great advice!

October is
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so please consider this a shout out, in case you forgot or have been avoiding, to give your doctor a call and make an appointment for a mamogram.


  1. Can you imagine living in a house with Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder??!! She was one of my favorites we lost too soon. Roseannadanna..good memories! I'll check out the book!

  2. I really loved Gilda Radner. I don't think SNL had a better actor/comedienne. I remember being filled with such sadness when I heard that her cancer had returned and when she died. I have read exerpts of the book, and I think I might buy it. I believe a portion goes to charity, doesn't it? Your review is informative and heartfelt at the same time.


  3. Dearest Bonnie,
    This woman would put me in stitches laughing; on Saturday nights, when I came in from being out with friends or staying home without a date in those days, I would laugh at Gilda's antics. My favorite was Mommy Dearest, played with the incredible Jane Curtain. Gilda's rendition of Christina was down right brilliant. My mom died of ovarian cancer 22 years ago. It is supposably heritary, so for the last 20 years, I had been on hormones that the doctors said would lessen my chances of getting it, especially not having kids. We shall see...Thanks for such a wonderful post. Take care my friend, Anita

  4. Hi Bonnie! I love Gilda! She was one of my all-time favorites from the SNL cast. I think Roseanne Roseannadanna was my favorite, although I have been known to say..."Never mind" on occasion. We lost her all too soon. Thanks for reminding us of her sweet and funny personality! Happy week...Debbie

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  6. Bonnie, yet ANOTHER smartly written review. Gilda was the best at what she did. Truly a gifted commediene. No other female commediene has measured up to her since her passing. I'll have to add this book to my stack of reading material on my night stand... LOL. Meanwhile, have a wonderful wkend, Chica!