Bill Murray describes the last time he saw Gilda Radner

Gilda Radner was in the news this week -- because she wasn't considered "news" enough for some of the affiliates of Gilda's Club. That story had a less sad ending than originally thought, with only a small number of Clubs dropping Gilda's name and not the organization as a whole. But in an attempt to keep Gilda's relevance alive, here is a very heartwarming story told by Bill Murray, her friend and former Saturday Night Live castmate, about the last time the two saw each other at a party thrown by Laraine Newman. It's not a new story, but it's a nice one worth sharing (and remembering):

The whole Monty Python group was there, most of us from the show, a lot of other funny people, and Gilda. Gilda showed up and she’d already had cancer and gone into remission and then had it again, I guess. Anyway she was slim. We hadn’t seen her in a long time. And she started doing, “I’ve got to go,” and she was just going to leave, and I was like, “Going to leave?” It felt like she was going to really leave forever.

So we started carrying her around, in a way that we could only do with her. We carried her up and down the stairs, around the house, repeatedly, for a long time, until I was exhausted. Then Danny [Aykroyd] did it for a while. Then I did it again. We just kept carrying her; we did it in teams. We kept carrying her around, but like upside down, every which way -- over your shoulder and under your arm, carrying her like luggage. ...

We worked all aspects of it, but it started with just, “She’s leaving, I don’t know if you’ve said good-bye to her.” And we said good-bye to the same people ten, twenty times, you know.

And because these people were really funny, every person we’d drag her up to would just do like five minutes on her, with Gilda upside down in this sort of tortured position, which she absolutely loved. She was laughing so hard we could have lost her right then and there.

If you're not laugh-crying too hard, visit the Huffington Post Comedy Tumblr to read Murray's whole story (an excerpt from Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller) about how it was impossible for Gilda Radner to not perform. Just because it's a really great story about Gilda Radner.

Photo credit: The First Five Years on Tumblr

(via Kottke)


  1. She was the first celeb that died that I was broken up about.  Never quite got over it.   She was a part of my childhood and I suppose that means I had a weird childhood.

  2. My favorite Gilda Radner moment was her cameo on The Gary Shandling Show.

    Shandler: (opening door) Hey! It’s Gilda Radner! (audience cheers)
    Shandler: I haven’t seen you in a long time! Where’ve you been?
    Gilda: I’ve had cancer, Gary. Where’ve YOU been?

  3. Gilda was always my very favorite SNL cast member.  Kristen Wiig is a close second.  It made me sick to hear about the Gilda’s Club cancer facilities dropping her name…what an insult!  Thank you, Bill Murray, for sharing this; it brought a big smile to my face!

  4. Paul Shaffer’s Bio “We’ll Be Here For The Rest Of Our Lives” has some wonderful Gilda stories, as well.

  5. What’s all this I hear about this story keeping Gilda Radner “elegant”? That uppity Bill Murray was throwing her around like a bag of laundry! Upside down, packed in like a suitcase, he was treating her like carry on luggage! If they wanted to tell a story where she was elegant, they should have told the story where she ….oh…. Well. That’s very different. Never mind. bitch.

  6. No need to go to the link for the “whole story.” It is copied here entirely except for one sentence. 

  7. Sitting in the dorm room watching SNL with the original cast.  Some of the best days of my life.  I miss Gilda.

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