It's Always Something

It's Always Something

by Gilda Radner

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To honor the twentieth anniversary of beloved comedienne Gilda Radner’s death from ovarian cancer comes a commemo- rative edition of her memoir, It’s Always Something—featuring a newly updated resource guide for people living with cancer and a tribute by Radner’s former colleagues at Saturday Night Live.

As a cast member on the original Saturday Night Live, Gilda Radner created a compelling character named “Roseann Rosannadanna” who habitually ended her routine with the line, “It’s always something,” which was her father’s favorite expression about life. Radner chose the catch- phrase she made famous as the title to her brave, funny, and painfully honest memoir: the story of her struggle against cancer and her determination to continue laughing.

Gilda’s Club, a network of affiliate clubhouses that seeks to provide a social and emotional support community to people living with cancer, was founded in Radner’s memory in 1991. The name of the organization comes from a remark Gilda once made, that cancer gave her “membership to an elite club I’d rather not belong to.” In partnership with Gilda’s Club, It’s Always Something includes valuable information for all whose lives have been touched by cancer and reminds us of the important place laughter has in healing.

Told as only Gilda Radner could tell it, It’s Always Something is the inspiring story of a courageous, funny woman fighting to enjoy life no matter what the circumstances. She died in 1989. Gilda’s Club is distinguished by its unique philosophy and pro- gram, “cancer support for the whole family, the whole time.” Learn more about Gilda’s Club at

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501126635
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 66,540
File size: 17 MB
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About the Author

Gilda Radner was born and raised in Detroit, began her acting career with Chicago’s Second City comedy improvisational group. Coming to New York dur- ing the early 1970s, she worked in several National Lampoon productions with John Belushi. In 1975, Ms. Radner was chosen as one of the original Not Ready for Primetime Players on television’s Saturday Night Live, where she was featured from 1975-1980. Subsequently, she appeared in the Broadway production of Gilda Live! and several comedy films including Hanky Panky, where she met her husband, Gene Wilder.
Gilda Radner was born and raised in Detroit, began her acting career with Chicago’s Second City comedy improvisational group. Coming to New York during the early 1970s, she worked in several National Lampoon productions with John Belushi. In 1975, Ms. Radner was chosen as one of the original Not Ready for Primetime Players on television’s Saturday Night Live, where she was featured from 1975–1980. Subsequently, she appeared in the Broadway production of Gilda Live! and several comedy films including Hanky Panky, where she met her husband, Gene Wilder.

Read an Excerpt

The Marriage

Like in the romantic fairy tales I always loved, Gene Wilder and I were married by the mayor of a small village in the south of France, September 18, 1984. We had met in August of 1981, while making the movie Hanky Panky, a not-too-successful romantic adventure-comedy-thriller. I had been a fan of Gene Wilder's for many years, but the first time I saw him in person, my heart fluttered—I was hooked. It felt like my life went from black and white to Technicolor. Gene was funny and athletic and handsome, and he smelled good. I was bitten with love and you can tell it in the movie. The brash and feisty comedienne everyone knew from "Saturday Night Live" turned into this shy, demure ingenue with knocking knees. It wasn't good for my movie career, but it changed my life.

Up to that point, I had been a workaholic. I'd taken one job after another for over ten years. But just looking at Gene made me want to stop ... made me want to cook. . . made me want to start a garden ... to have a family and settle down. To complicate things, I was married at the time and Gene had been married and divorced twice before and was in no hurry to make another commitment. I lived in a house I had just bought in Connecticut and he lived in Los Angeles. I got an amicable divorce six months later and Gene and I lived together on and off for the next two-and-a-half years. My new "career" became getting him to marry me. I turned down job offers so I could keep myself geographically available. More often than not, I had on a white, frilly apron like Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year when she left her job to exclusively be Spencer Tracey's wife.Unfortunately, my performing ego wasn't completely content in an apron, and in every screenplay Gene was writing, or project he had under development, I finagled my way into a part.

We were married in the south of France because Gene loved France. If he could have been born French, he would have been—that was his dream.

The only time I had been to France was when I was eighteen. I went with a girlfriend in the sixties when it was popular to go for less than five dollars a day—of course, your parents still gave you a credit card in case you got in trouble. We went on an Icelandic Airlines flight. The plane was so crowded, it seemed like there were twelve seats across and it tilted to whatever side the stewardess was serving on.

We landed in Luxembourg and then our next stop was Brussels. My girlfriend was of Polish descent, but had been born in Argentina—she spoke four languages fluently. After four days, she was sick of me saying, "What?," "What did they say?"—she couldn't stand me. She just wanted to kill me. I was miserable all through the trip. I was miserable in Luxembourg. I was miserable in Brussels. We slept at the University of Brussels; you could stay there for a dollar a night in the student dormitory, where we spent the evening watching the movie Greener Pastures with French subtitles. We went on to Amsterdam where we stayed in a youth hostel. I'll never forget that there was pubic hair on the soap in the bathroom and it made me sick. Years later, I had Roseanne Roseannadanna talk about it.

There I was, eighteen years old in Europe, and all the terrible things that happen to tourists happened to me. In Amsterdam I lost my traveler's checks and spent one whole day looking for the American Express office. I was so upset by the Anne Frank House that I got horrible diarrhea in the lobby of the Rembrandt Museum and never saw one painting. When we went on to France, my girlfriend's boyfriend met us in Paris—romantic Paris! I found the city hectic and weird. Plus, I was on my own. My friend was with her boyfriend; I was the third person—the girl alone.

I don't know why, but everywhere I went, everywhere I looked, a man would be playing with himself. I always have been a starer—a voyeur. I must have been staring too much at other people because I would always get in trouble. I'd be waiting to sit down in a restaurant and a man would come out of the restroom (this must have happened about four or five times), and he would suddenly start staring at me and undoing his fly and playing with himself. Yuck! This wasn't the romantic Paris I had heard of.

I was very isolated because of the language barrier. I felt lonelier than I had ever been. One night after a terrible less-than-two-dollar dinner, I actually ended up running out into the middle of the Champs Elysées trying to get hit by traffic. Yeah, I ran out onto the boulevard and lay down on the ground before the cars came whipping around the comer—you wouldn't believe how fast they come around there. My girlfriend's boyfriend ran out and dragged me back. I was lying down in the street waiting to get run over because I was so lonely and he picked me up and dragged me back. The next day I made a reservation on Air France first class to go home. I only stayed two weeks and spent a fortune flying home. I never went back until Gene took me in 1982. It was the first summer we were living together, and Gene couldn't wait to show me Paris and the French countryside and the southern provinces of the country he adored.

Gene reintroduced Europe to me, and with him I learned it could be a pleasure and I could love it. He took me to one particularchâteau in the mountains in the south of France. We stayed two weeks and I discovered that traveling can be wonderful if you stop to enjoy where you are. Our room was luxurious, with a spectacular view of the Riviera. There was a tennis court and a pool and a restaurant that had one star in the Michelin guidebook. Food was served like precious gems, and I remember we watched the French Open tennis tournament on television in our splendid room, in French. Mats Wilander won.

Tennis is another joy of Gene's life, so I took lessons in California for thirty-five dollars an hour twice a week. I bought a Prince racket and some perky Chris Evert-type outfits, and learned to hit the ball. Gene was infinitely patient with me, hitting balls to me while I klutzed all over the court. I wanted to be M-A-R-R-I-E-D to Gene, but it sure wasn't my tennis game that got him...

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It's Always Something 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Kadoo More than 1 year ago
Gilda Radner has always been a favorite of mine, and I was so sad when she died. When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2005, however, I couldn't bear to read It's Always Something. However, when my third recurrence was confirmed a month ago, I decided it was time to read this book. Bless you, Gilda, for putting your experience into words. This book gave me strength to face this darned cancer yet again. Gilda's humor and candor are exquisite. An added treat is learning more about Gilda's life. I highly recommend this book, especially to cancer patients.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. Gilda went through so much in her struggle with cancer. This book definitely made me stop and smell the roses and realize just how fragile life is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first you think 'is this woman crazy?' and then you think, 'yes, yes she is', but how wonderful to be so in touch with ones own feelings and so unabashedly proud of who you are. The truth of her life is on those pages; that she was a lady who deeply understood what laughter meant to one's spirit. Truthfully written with a heart of gold.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading about her life...sad at times!
SoftballmomCA More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Gilda's book. She wrote of the funny side of her cancer; however, she also shares the sad, terrifying, and painful side. This is a moving book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gilda will make you both laugh and cry when you read this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who is either a Radner fan or who is battling cancer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read once I left the hospital after my own fight with ovarian cancer when I was 19. Gilda's book put so many things in perspective and taught me a lot of things. Her light lives on through this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who was either a fan of Gilda, a cancer patient, or a loved one/care giver of someone with the disease.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a loss to the world when Gilda Radner passed away many years ago. She leaves behind her laughter in this amazing book. This book will make you laugh and cry. You won't be able to put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first stumbled upon Gilda Radner when the movie on her life began to be previewed. Before then, if you walked up to me and said, 'Hey, do you know this comedienne?' I would have shaken my head and admitted that I did not. Time passed, and the day of the movie I was late into watching it. I managed to start watching sometime during her childhood, quickly caught on, and was amazed with what I saw. If I had been alive during the 1970's, I most likely would have watched Saturday Night Live. After I watched the movie I just couldn't believe it. I had never known just how horrible cancer really was. So, then I listened to the audio. It made me cry, hearing the voice of someone who knew that they may or may not survive from a battle in which they had been struggling with. Finally, I read the book, which, despite what some people might think, is a lot different from the audio. The audio cuts out somethings. Nonetheless, I read that, and cried. Gilda Radner was remarkable. She seemed like such a kind person, she didn't deserve what happened.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it's a great book... my favorite! it really teaches you to appreciate life, and get the most out of what you have. Really amazing courage gilda radner had. you as a reader learn a lot from her. especially courage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a cancer survivor I can only say that not only can I relate to this book because of my own experiences with cancer on a daily basis, but I can also relate with her personal triumphs and tragedies in her life outside of her battle. I have never read a book that has moved me to the point of making me howl with laughter out load, but also cry with tears streaming down my face. I read this book in less than twenty-four hours, from the first page to the last she had me hanging on every word she wrote. This book is a MUST for all to read, if nothing else, just to remind us that the blissful ignorance for 'tomorrow stretches on forever' will not last forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a peek into the life of not only someone very famous, but a person going through a terminal disease. This tells of her struggles and her happy times. A lighthearted yet bittersweet book. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Touching, heartbreaking, and totally relatable to her struggle with cancer. Gilda speaks to the reader as if talking to a beloved friend over coffee. Highly recommended!
Bella49 More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. It's funny, it's sad, it will make you laugh and it will for sure make you cry. Gilda takes you in a journey of life, love and the awful disease that took this amazing funny, talented, loving person from this earth.  This woman never gave up on love and in life. She is THE inspiration of life to the fullest. Gilda you are never forgotten. I read your book for the first time when I was a teenager, I am now 41 and you still make me laugh and cry at the same time.  I highly recommend this book. You will read it over and over again 
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