This gawky, gifted comedy star with kinky curled hair and a flair for outlandish characterizations was born into a wealthy Detroit family. Radner took off early and found success as a comic in Canada, then on TV's "Saturday Night Live" as its premiere female star. With such characters as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella and Baba Wawa, she became America's Sweetheart in the late 1970s.
Radner's post-SNL career was disappointing, beginning with the 1980 feature "First Family" and her one-woman Broadway show, "Gilda Live" (1979). None of her films were particularly successful, though she shone in all of them as a delightful character actress: "Hanky Panky" (1982), "The Woman in Red" (1984) and "Haunted Honeymoon" (her last, 1986).
Radner met actor Gene Wilder while filming "Hanky Panky" and they married in France on September 18, 1984. Her career was cut short by a long, painful and bravely waged battle with ovarian cancer, which she chronicled in her posthumously-published autobiography, "It's Always Something". Her last appearance was on the HBO TV comedy "It's Garry Shandling's Show" in 1988, playing herself. She was survived by her husband, who started the cancer support group Gilda's Friends (subsequently renamed Gilda's Club").