Gene Wilder – MovieActors.com
Wilder in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.
About Gene Wilder (1933 — 2016)
Gene Wilder was born on June 11,1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, into a Russian Jewish family.
Wilder passed away on August 29, 2016. According to his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman, Wilder died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
His mother, Jeanne, was born in Illinois, and his father, William immigrated to America. When his mother became very ill when he was 8, the doctor told him to try to make her laugh, which got him thinking about becoming an actor.
Gene Wilder's birth name is Jerome Silberman. Wilder says he picked the name 'Gene Wilder' because he couldn't see a 'Jerry Silberman' playing Hamlet.
In 1951, Gene Wilder graduated from Washington High School in Milwaukee. He also graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Theatre Arts, in 1955. Gene was then accepted at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England, where he became very accomplished in fencing, winning the All-School Fencing Championship.
He returned to New York, and enrolled in the HB Studio to study the Stanislavsky's system of acting, but he was drafted into the Army, which temporarily put a dent in his plans.
From 1956-1958, Gene Wilder served in the Army as a paramedic in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Valley Forge Army Hospital. After the army, he not only studied at HB Studio with a scholarship for three years, but also was able to then enroll and study with Lee Strasburg privately. Gene also was accepted into the Actors Studio.
In 1961, Gene Wilder's first big break was playing a small role in the off-Broadway production of Arnold Wesker's ROOTS, and followed quickly with his 1962 Broadway debut, THE COMPLAISANT LOVER, for which he won the Clement Derwent Award.
Gene Wilder's first feature was BONNIE AND CLYDE In 1967, playing one of their hostages.
In 1968, Gene Wilder portrayed Leo Bloom, a stage producer, desperate for a flop, in the black comedy THE PRODUCERS, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. He co-starred with Zero Mostel.
In 1971, Wilder starred as the Mad Hatter of Chocolate, Willy Wonka, in the wacky kid's movie, WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
Gene Wilder starred in Mel Brook's 1974 movie, BLAZING SADDLES.
One of Gene Wilder's most memorable performances was in 1974's Mel Brooks comedy hit YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Wilder was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.
Wilder starred with Richard Pryor in SILVER STREAK, in 1976.
Gene Wilder was unlucky in love until his fourth marriage. Gene Wilder first married Mary Mercier in 1960, but they divorced in 1965, because they spent too much time apart.
For a second time around on the marriage go-round, Gene Wilder was married to Mary Joan Schultz in 1967, after Mary's daughter started to call him "DADDY." Gene adopted Mary's daughter. This marriage lasted until November of 1980.
Finally, Gene found comic actress Gilda Radner, when filming HANKY PANKY, and married her in 1984. When Gilda died of ovarian cancer, in 1989, Gene didn't think that he would find another love like Gilda. Two years later, Gene had indeed found another love, and married costume designer, and speech pathologist, Karen Boyer.
In 1999, Gene Wilder was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After chemotherapy treatments and a stem cell implant, Gene was declared free of cancer after 2005.
Gene Wilder has retired from films. "I like writing books. I'd rather be at home with my wife. I can write, take a break, come out, have a glass of tea, give my wife a kiss, and go back in and write some more. It's not so bad. I am really lucky."
Though, if the right script comes along, Gene Wilder would do it. In a 2013 TIME OUT NEW YORK MAGAZINE interview, Gene explained, "It’s not that I wouldn't act again. I'd say, 'Give me the script. If it's something wonderful, I'll do it.' But I don't get anything like that."
Gene Wilder's notable movie credits include...
ANOTHER YOU (1991)
FUNNY ABOUT LOVE (1990)
SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL (1989)
HAUNTED HONEYMOON (1986)
THE WOMAN IN RED (1984)
HANKY PANKY (1982)
STIR CRAZY (1980)
THE FRISCO KID (1979)
THE WORLD'S GREATEST LOVER (1977)
SILVER STREAK (1976)
THE ADVENTURE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER (1975)
YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)
BLAZING SADDLES (1974)
EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK (1972)
WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971)
START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME (1970)
THE PRODUCERS (1968)
BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)
Gene Wilder in BLAZING SADDLES (1974).