‘Leave Them Laughing’ star dies

Carla Zilbersmith, the subject of John Zaritsky's latest documentary, Leave Them Laughing, passed away on Tuesday, May 18.
May 19, 2010

Carla Zilbersmith, the subject of John Zaritsky’s latest documentary, Leave Them Laughing, passed away on Tuesday, May 18. Zilbersmith was a California-based stand-up comedian and singer who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 2007. The documentary, which won the Hot Docs Special Jury Award for a Canadian feature, focuses on Zilbersmith’s will to maintain her sense of humor despite her failing health.

Oscar-winning director Zaritsky paid for the film out of his own pocket, with help from Magic Flute Films producer Montana Berg, after reading a quote from Zilbersmith about how much it ‘sucks’ to have a disease named for a baseball player since she hates baseball. Throughout her career Zilbersmith wrote plays, songs, scripts and one-woman shows and the film on her life followed her over six weeks as she continued to sing and perform stand-up comedy despite her debilitating disease. For more on the project, click here.

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Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.