When Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989 I was 20 years old, having grown up with Roseannadanna, Emily Litella and her other one-of-a-kind characters, I couldn’t imagine a world void of this woman’s incredible talent, compassion and spirit. She made it all look so easy, when clearly it was anything but.

In the new documentary Love, Gilda, premiering in theaters today, director Lisa D’Apolito takes us on a journey with Gilda that gives insight into her life and the unique legacy she left behind. “My hope with Love, Gilda is that people who love her, discover more about her and people who have never heard of her, are inspired by her story and grow to love her too.”

If the trailer is any indication… mission accomplished. I cannot wait to see this film!

Editor update: If you missed the film in theaters, it’s now available to stream on CNN go

Gilda Radner movie poster

Film synopsis…

In her own words, comedian Gilda Radner reflects on her life and career. Weaving together her recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with friends, rare home movies and diaries read by modern-day comedians inspired by Gilda, LOVE, GILDA opens up a unique window into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story.

Gilda Radner puts a smile on the faces of people who remember watching her as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. She quickly rose to meteoric fame in television, movies and on Broadway, and was declared ‘one of America’s sweethearts.’ LOVE, GILDA is a true autobiography, told in Gilda’s words and in her own voice. Working with the Radner Estate, director Lisa D’Apolito unearthed a collection of diaries and personal audio and videotapes documenting her childhood, her comedy career, her relationships and ultimately, her struggle with cancer. This never-before-seen footage and journal entries form the narrative spine of the documentary, allowing Gilda to tell her own story– through the laughter and sometimes the tears. Incredibly, she was able to find humor in even the darkest of times. Gilda’s spirit lives on in comedy as a female trailblazer who continues to inspire many present day comedic performers.

Love, Gilda is in theaters now. Find a theater near you here.

Cynthia Hornig is Co-Founder and Editorial Director of Women You Should Know

Images courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.