Martin Short Recalls Breakup with Gilda Radner Before Falling for 'Beautiful' Wife Nancy Dolman

Martin Short dated the original 'SNL' cast member in the early 1970s when the two were both living in Canada

<p>Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty</p> Martin Short in 1986 and Gilda Radner in 1977

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Martin Short in 1986 and Gilda Radner in 1977

Martin Short is looking back on his life — and love — as a young actor in Canada.

Before Short went on to become a Saturday Night Live cast member in the 1980s, the actor was working in Canada and appeared in a Toronto production of the musical Godspell in 1972 alongside original SNL cast member Gilda Radner. It was during that production that he would meet his future wife Nancy Dolman, as she was hired as Radner’s understudy.

On a recent appearance on the Where Everybody Knows Your Name with Ted Danson & Woody Harrelson podcast, Short, 74, recalled that when he first met his wife, whom he thought was “so beautiful,” he was dating — and living with — Radner.

<p>NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty</p> John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner on 'SNL' in 1976

NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner on 'SNL' in 1976

Related: Inside Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner's 'Mythological' Love Story During Her Cancer Journey

Danson asked if he ever had a “glimmer in your eye” for Dolman before they got together, and while Short said he thought she was “out of my league” he added that he also “loved Gilda.”

He and Radner would eventually break up — “we always were breaking up,” he remembered. After feeling like he and Radner were officially "kaput" he made plans to play tennis with Dolman after seeing her at a restaurant the following day.

“I remember Gilda phoning up and saying, ‘You're with Nancy… we're supposed to get back together,' ” he told Danson.

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“It was fast,” Short added of his courtship with Dolman, before adding, “One day. One day, I was single. That's crazy.”

He went on to open up about the first night the new couple "made love.” He said they were 24 and 22 respectively — Dolman was a year-and-a-half his junior — and checked into a hotel.

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Martin Short and Nancy Dolman in 2007

Kevin Winter/Getty

Martin Short and Nancy Dolman in 2007

“I was wearing cutoff jeans and a T-shirt, and Nancy was wearing cutoff jeans and like a halter top. And I said, ‘My wife and I would like room, please,’ " he remembered. “And the guy behind the desk burst out laughing. He just burst out laughing.”

“That's fantastic. And from that moment on, you were together?” Danson asked, to which Short confirmed. The pair wed on Dec. 22, 1980.

The two were married for 30 years before Dolman’s death in 2010 from ovarian cancer. They welcomed three children together: daughter Katherine and sons Oliver and Henry.

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Related: Steve Martin and Martin Short Reflect on 36 Years of Friendship and Laughter

In November 2014, while promoting his book I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend on The Meredith Vieira Show, Short shared how he and his children honored Dolman after her death.

"[Nancy] had once said to me, 'I don't want a funeral and I don't want a memorial. Throw a party, or not.' She just was so irritated that she was losing this battle, she didn't want to think about it," Martin recalled. "So I just followed her wishes. We went up, we had a party with about 30 close friends and family. She was cremated. The kids and I went into a boat, we sprinkled the ashes into the water, and we jumped into the ashes."

Radner died in 1989 of ovarian cancer at age 42.  

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