Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder’s Enduring — and Heartbreaking — Love Story

Two of the funniest actors of the 20th century, Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder were such a perfect match and so in love that their relationship remains one of the most iconic in Hollywood history.

Radner and Wilder met in 1981 on the Manhattan set of the Sidney Poitier-directed comedy caper Hanky Panky. She was the Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live star, he was the man who gave life to Willy Wonka, Young Frankenstein and other iconic characters. It was a casting coup, and though the film wound up being critically panned, it was clear that its two stars belonged together, on-screen and off.

The pair had chemistry from their very first meeting

Those who were on the set of Hanky Panky noticed the connection between Radner and Wilder right away.

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“There was a chemistry that was palpable and an electricity in the air,” Radner’s friend Pain Katz told People years later. “They hadn’t been together yet, but there was no chance that they weren’t going to be.”

Radner herself later admitted that it was love at first sight. “My heart fluttered — I was hooked,” she wrote in her 1989 memoir, It’s Always Something. “It felt like my life went from black and white to Technicolor.”

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