SNL icons such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Molly Shannon, and Ana Gasteyer were among the former cast members who took part in the rendition of ‘Perfect Day’.
Adam Sandler, John Mulaney, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, and Kenan Thompson offered memorials to their late collaborator. Willner had been the sketch music producer on the show since 1981 and played a pivotal role in making the show the cultural phenom it is today.
Willner was much more than just the SNL music producer, during his career earned a prolific reputation in recording music and produced albums by the likes of Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed, William S. Burroughs, Laurie Anderson and Allen Ginsberg.
On March 28th, that Willner suggested that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. Uploading a picture of statistical map showing confirmed cases of coronavirus to his social media, the producer wrote: “I always wanted to have a number one, but not this.”
Following it, Willner confirmed that he was home in self-isolation in a bid to recover: “In bed on upper west side,” he said.
Just two days after alluding to his diagnosis, Willner was still in strong health and sent best wishes to the Grammy Award-winning musician John Prine who is also fighting for his life after contracting the virus: “Sending love to John Prine who is in critical condition with COVID-19,” he wrote in a post on Twitter. “John is a music giant. His songs are as good as it gets and he’s a spellbinding performer. Send good thoughts his way. ‘I sound like that old guy down the street that doesn’t chase you out of his apple tree’.”
Check out the SNL’s legends heartwarming tribute to Willner, below.