Tag Archives: Gilda Radner

R.I.P. Gene Wilder: June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016

This horrible year continues as the grim reaper keeps taking stars that we grew up with. This time, we lost Gene Wilder. Of course, most people know him from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). I never got into that movie, although I loved the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

However, Gene Wilder played a huge part in my early teen years, which coincided with the introduction of cable TV. When we first got cable TV, we had all the movie channels. If I wasn’t glued to MTV, I was watching commercial-free, uncut movies on HBO and Showtime. For me, Gene Wilder was a fixture on my TV set, as the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor movie, Silver Streak (1976) played all the time. And I watched it and loved it every time. Of course, there was also Stir Crazy (1980), also starring Wilder and Pryor. They were such a great team. I loved both of them, and they had great chemistry.

I was too young to watch Saturday Night Live when the original cast was on. So, my introduction to original cast member, Gilda Radner, was in the 1982 movie Hanky Panky. That was another Gene Wilder movie that was in heavy rotation. I’m pretty sure that at the time that this movie was on HBO, the only movies they showed were Hanky Panky, Rocky III, Victory, and Six Pack. Gene Wilder and Gilda grew closer to each other during the filming of Hanky Panky, and would go on to get married. Sadly, Gilda Radner developed cancer, and died on May 20, 1989. Wilder then went on to promote cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda’s Club, a support group to raise awareness of cancer that began in New York City and now has branches throughout the country.

I don’t remember Wilder’s movie The Woman in Red too well, but I do know I saw it. The last movie I remember seeing him in was another Wilder/Pryor joint – See No Evil, Hear No Evil, which was also great. I didn’t see his Mel Brooks movies (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles) until later on.

Although Gene Wilder hadn’t been in any movies for a very long time, this one still hurts. Another thing that hits home with me is that he died from complications from Alzheimer’s. I lost my grandmother to that horrible disease, and less than a month ago, I lost my uncle/godfather to it as well.

OK 2016, we surrender! Please don’t take anybody else!

Here are the trailers to a few of my favorite Gene Wilder movies:

Silver Streak

Stir Crazy

And here is a scene from Hanky Panky:

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80’s Trivia – 6/13/13

Question: What movie is this image from?

Last Question: What movie is this image from?

Answer: Hanky Panky

This 1982 movie, directed by Sidney Poitier is where Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner met. They got married on September 18, 1984. The couple would also star in The Woman in Red and Haunted Honeymoon. Sadly, Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer on May 20, 1989, with Gene wilder at her side.

But, let’s go back to better days. Here is a scene from Hanky Panky:

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Daily Trivia – 1/4/11

Question: What sitcom based an entire 1989 episode on Kevin Arnold’s first zit?

Last Question: Who directed Gilda Radner’s last movie, the horror spoof Haunted Honeymoon?

Answer: Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner met on the set of the movie Hanky Panky. Radner described their first meeting as “love at first sight.” This caused her marriage to Saturday Night Live guitarist, G.E. Smith to fall apart. Radner and Wilder made their second movie together, The Woman in Red, in 1984. Their relationship grew stronger, and they were married on September 18, 1984 in the south of France. Then they went on to make Haunted Honeymoon.

On the set, Radner was becoming fatigued, and experienced pain in her upper legs. After 10 months of false diagnoses, she learned that she had ovarian cancer on October 21, 1986.
Radner was told that she had gone into remission. She was put on a maintenance chemotherapy treatment to prolong her remission. But in late 1988, she learned that her cancer had returned after a routine blood test. She was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California on May 17, 1989 for a CAT scan. Because she was fearful that she would never wake up, she was given a sedative but passed into a coma. She did not regain consciousness and died three days later at 6:20 am on May 20, 1989; Wilder was at her side.

Wilder established the Gilda Radner Ovarian Detection Center at Cedars-Sinai to screen high-risk candidates and run basic diagnostic tests.

Gilda Radner will always be remembered for her great Saturday Night Live characters such as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Baba Wawa (a spoof on Barbara Walters), Lisa Loopner (who was often alongside her friend Todd, played by Bill Murray). One of my favorite characters of Gilda’s was Emily Litella. She was an elderly woman with a hearing problem who did editorials on “Weekend Update”. She would go off on a mad tangent on something she did not hear correctly or misunderstood: “What is all this fuss I hear about the Supreme Court decision on a “deaf” penalty? It’s terrible! Deaf people have enough problems as it is!” Then after she was finally set straight by the news anchor, she always said the line – “Never mind”.