Gene Wilder passed away on August 28, 2016, according to his family. Nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman explained that the 83-year-old prolific comedic star died of Alzheimer’s disease-related complications.
Wilder’s was born on June 11, 1933, and his birth name was Jerome Silberman. His father, William, was a Russian immigrant and his mother, Jeanne was frequently ill. As a youngster he was warned not to upset his mom, instead, the family doctor said he should make her laugh instead.
According to Biography.com, this set him up for his life-long calling as a comedian. He used various voices and accents during his attempts to make his mom laugh.
Comedian, Writer, Directer, etc.
Wilder is known for his roles in “Blazing Saddles,” “Everything You Always Wanted to Know Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask),” “Young Frankenstein,” “Stir Crazy,” and more.
This prolific man has at least 37 acting credits to his name. According to IMDb, he is recognized for adding his name to 12 soundtracks. His writing credits include TV movies and screenplays including, “The Lady in Question,” The Woman in Red,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, and more.
In 1980, he wrote, directed, and performed in a segment of a four-story program called “Sunday Lovers.” Each story was from a different country: England, France, Italy, and the United States. The story Wilder contributed to the series was “Skippy.”
Additionally, Wilder wrote, directed, and produced “The World’s Greatest Lover” and played Rudy Hickman. Others in the movie include Carol Kane, Dom DeLuise, and Danny DeVito.
He authored several books, one of which was published in 2005, entitled “Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art.” The book’s description reads:
Gene [sic] defined film comedy in the 1970s and ’80s, starring in movies ranging from ‘The Producers’ to ‘Blazing Saddles’. ‘Kiss Me Like a Stranger’ is an intelligent, quirky, humorous account of key events that have affected him – as the subtitle puts it, it is his search for love and art.
Thoughts Expressed About Wilder
Photographer Gregory Wild-Smith wrote about the photo he took of Wilder. He said, he thanked the comedian for all of the wonderful work through the years and had enjoyed his work. Apparently, the comedian had been signing books, but he looked up “with those twinkling baby-blue eyes and smiled, ‘thanks, thank you very much.'” Furthermore, Wild-Smith wrote, he may have been a person in line to the comedian but it was a “moment that meant a lot to me.”
Biography.com writer Robert Cashill proclaimed that Wilder chose a great name because in his finest roles he was always the one who was wilder than anyone else. Cashill stated the comedian “possessed a fine madness.”
Many people posted tweets about the actor’s passing. Bex Taylor-Klaus wrote, “Mortality shouldn’t apply to the comedy greats.” Zelda Williams post mentioned, “You filled so many childhoods, mine included, with wonder, laughter & joy.”
By Cathy Milne
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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gregory Wild-Smith’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Maria J Aleman’s Flickr Page -Creative Commons License