A new movie opening today is shining a spotlight on Detroit-born comedian Gilda Radner, who rose to fame on Saturday Night Live. And, the title, "Love, Gilda" is perfect for the movie because that's exactly what it is: a love story about -- and to -- the beloved comedian.
Working on this film has certainly been a labor of love for University of Michigan film school graduate Meryl Goldsmith, who spoke by phone with I See You Awards® founder
Gilda Radner scrapbooking in "Love Gilda," a Magnolia
Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
and WWJ Newsradio 950 film critic, Terri Lee. Goldsmith is a producer and executive producer of "Love, Gilda".
"Gilda used to send me gifts as a child, and this is one way I can send her a gift back, even though she's not here to receive it," Goldsmith told Lee.
Goldsmith's family has always been close friends with the Radner family. Their families close relationship is one of the reasons Goldsmith wanted to tell Gilda's story.
"The Radner family were just such a big part of my childhood, and I never got to know Gilda because she passed when I was young, and so, I feel like through this film, I was finally able to really get to know her, and I'm so grateful for that, and I think audiences will be, too," Goldsmith said.
Radner passed away at the age of 43 after a long battle with ovarian cancer, but not before she carved out a tremendously successful career as a comedian. Radner was not just one of the first cast members on Saturday Night Live, she was actually the first comedian who was cast.
"Yes, the first ever," Goldsmith added. "You know ... the rest of them were mostly guys, so there would be skits with almost all guys and then it would be just Gilda in there, and she ... held her own, and really was a trailblazer for women."
Through her accomplishments, Radner opened the door for numerous female comics, who today are inspired by her work: including Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy, all of whom make appearances in the movie, along with several other familiar names, such as Chevy Chase, Paul Shaffer and Lorne Michaels, SNL's creator and producer.
Goldsmith says Radner's spirit also lives on through the Gilda's Clubs that are now open in several cities across the country. It's her fighting spirit that Goldsmith says is also a source of encouragement for others.
"I think the love for her and just how inspirational she was in fighting cancer and dealing with her issues with eating disorders and the ups and downs with fame; she just tackled it like a champ, and really set an example on how to handle trying times in life and to handle it with humor."
"Love, Gilda" is a touching and heartwarming look back at Gilda Radner's life, starting with her early childhood, her career, and her beautiful love story with husband Gene Wilder. The movie opens in theaters on Friday, September 21st. My recommendation: it's a definite go see.
On a side note, Goldsmith will be at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor this Sunday, September 23rd, to do a Q&A with the audience. And trust me, she'd love to see you there!
See you at the movies!
To hear my on-air report and/or my complete interview with Meryl Goldsmith, click here.
Be sure to tune in to WWJ Newsradio 950 every Friday for my weekly look at the movies with Midday Anchor Jackie Paige.
Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee
Member: Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) Detroit Film Critics Society (DFCS) African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) SAG-AFTRA