Bill Murray on the Last Time He Saw Gilda Radner


Here’s one way to say goodbye.

Bill Murray spent a few minutes talking about a fellow cast member from SNL, Gilda Radner. This incredible snippet was spotted by a Tumblr user from the book “Live from New York: an Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live“. It will take your breath away and gives you a glimpse into these kinds of perfect, fragile, and yet immortal moments we store in our hearts.

Gilda got married and went away. None of us saw her anymore. There was one good thing: Laraine had a party one night, a great party at her house. And I ended up being the disk jockey. She just had forty-fives, and not that many, so you really had to work the music end of it. There was a collection of like the funniest people in the world at this party. Somehow Sam Kinison sticks in my brain. 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 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. And that went on for more than an hour—maybe an hour and a half—just carrying her around and saying, “She’s leaving! This could be it! Now come on, this could be the last time we see her. Gilda’s leaving, and remember that she was very sick—hello?”

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.

It was just one of the best parties I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ll always remember it. It was the last time I saw her.

Have you ever had a moment like this? How did you say goodbye?

[Via: TumblrLive from New York: an Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live]

Photo credit: Flickr / david_shankbone

About Deanna Ogle

Deanna Ogle hails from the greater Detroit area and her work has appeared in The Good Men Project, The Printed Blog, and Provoketive Magazine. She is studying journalism and religious studies, and writes at her personal blog Soul like a Spider. Loves: carnations, iced espresso, and watching movies with her husband. Find her at Twitter, Google and Facebook.


  1. I love this story. It’s personal and honest. I can picture this, as if this were my group of friends. And only in retrospect is Bill able to say that it was goodbye forever. They thought it might be, but you never know. It’s true for all of us. Those moments that you treasure for what they meant at the time, and what they mean later on.

    Thank you for finding this and sharing it.

  2. There’s a story only Bill M. could tell like that. He can tell a story so sad that you HAVE to cry…while you smile.

    I wish he were my therapist…just for one day!

  3. PursuitAce says:


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