Gilda Susan Radner (June 28, 1946 – May 20, 1989) was an American comedienne and actress. She was an original cast member of the hit NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, for which she won an Emmy Award in 1978.
Radner was born in Detroit, Michigan to Jewish parents, Henrietta (née Dworkin), a legal secretary, and Herman Radner, a businessman. She grew up in Detroit with a nanny, Elizabeth Clementine Gillies, whom she called "Dibby" (and on whom she based her famous character Emily Litella), and an older brother named Michael. She attended the University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe. Toward the end of her life, Radner wrote in her autobiography, It's Always Something, that during her childhood and young adulthood she battled numerous eating disorders: "I coped with stress by having every possible eating disorder from the time I was nine years old. I have weighed as much as 160 pounds and as little as 93. When I was a kid, I overate constantly. My weight distressed my mother and she took me to a doctor who put me on Dexedrine diet pills when I was ten years old."
Radner graduated from Liggett and enrolled at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1964. While at the university, she made a lifelong platonic friend of fellow student David Saltman, who wrote a biography of her after her death. She joined him and his girlfriend on a trip to Paris in the summer of 1966. According to Saltman's book, he was so affectionate with his girlfriend that they left Radner to fend for herself during much of their sightseeing. Radner was nervous and upset about gaining weight from the French cuisine, but Saltman paid little attention at the time...
Quotes by Gilda Radner
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