Gilda Radner

  1. Andrea Martin, Black Christmas, 1974.      Her Saturday Night Live work often cancelled out any Monday-Friday offers. Particularly bad ’uns.
  2. Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, 1976-1982.    After guesting as the pals in Happy Days # 52: A Date With Fonzie,1975, ABC offered  Penny Marshall  and  Cindy Williams their own spin-off… Laverne Defazio and Shirley Feeney(!). Great  said Penny. No, said Cindy, auditioning for Star Wars among other movies. Gilda Radner was saeen but Liberty Williams, an ABC extra and stock player voicing Saturday kiddy toons, became Shirley. Not for long. Something special was missing and producer Garry Marshall  (Penny’s brother) moved mountains, including   Paramount’s,  to persuade Cindy back into harness with her (real) friend. She later quit for two days – “Penny
  3. Shelley Duvall, Popeye, 1980.      On Saturday Night Live, Gilda created Roseanne Rosannadanna, Judy Miller, Emily Litella, Baba Wawa, Lisa Loopner, Candy Slice, Rhonda Weiss. But, unlike the studio which wanted Radner and Dustin Hoffman, director Robert Altman did not see her as Olive Oyl. He felt Shelley was born to be Olive Oyl – kids had called her that at school. And he was right. Even though the film flopped, Shelley triumphed.
  4. Liza Minnelli, Arthur, 1980.         Brand new auteur Steve Gordon knew exactly who was perfect. Dudley Moore as the titular rich drunk man-child and Minnelli as his lady. Orion Pictures also considered Radner, Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Kay Lenz (1972’s Breezy, already looking for a comeback), Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Sehpherd… and even Meryl Streep, Debra Winger. Plus Tuesday Weld, in the throes of divorcing the titular Dud! Gordon made a big hit, but never a second film – he died at 44 in 1982.
  5. Katherine Helmond, Time Bandits, 1980.       Art Carney, Burt Reynolds…!!! The heavy-handed Hollywood approach of exec producer Dennis O’Brien was killing director Terry Gilliam – “and,” wrote Michael Palin in his dairy, “may kill the film.” Ruth Gordon was suddenly out as The Ogre’s Wife because Gilda – “the hottest name in Hollywood” (sic) – “does a really good old lady on Saturday Night Live.” Fine, said Michel Palin, but Ruth is a great old lady! Soap star Helmond was funnier and also starred in Gilliam’s next feature, Brazil, 1984.
  6. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.       In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged 18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. Auteur James Cameron created Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… and Glenn Close won – her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no.   The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson, Sigourney Weaver… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two singers (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore…plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from Saturday Night Live. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis). Ten years later (after T2), Linda gave birth to Cameron’s daughter and Josephine’s parents wed in 1997… for two years.
  7. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.



 Birth year: 1946Death year: 1989Other name: Casting Calls:  7