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Gene Wilder

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See No Evil, Hear No Evil... Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder once again team up in the hilarious "See No Evil,... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

The World's Greatest Lover... Comic genius Gene Wilder transforms from geek to "sheik" in "The World's... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Mel Brooks Collection... This indispensable 8-disc set collects eight of Mel Brooks' comedic... more info $59.98was $59.98 Buy Now

The Frisco Kid DVD Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford team with veteran director Robert Aldrich for this... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Stir Crazy DVD Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor had audiences rolling in the aisles with their... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Blazing Saddles: 30th Anniversary Special... "My name is Jim, but most people call me... Jim." And while Blazing Saddles is... more info $5.98was $5.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Jerry Silberman Died:
Born: June 11, 1933 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Profession: actor, screenwriter, director, producer, salesman, chauffeur, fencing teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Comedic actor Gene Wilder caught his first big break playing a small roll in the off-Broadway production of Arnold Wesker's "Roots" and followed quickly with his Broadway debut as the comic valet in "The Complaisant Lover" (both 1961), for which he won the Clement Derwent Award. His other Broadway credits included "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1963, with Kirk Douglas), "The White House" (1964, with Helen Hayes), and "Luv" (1966), but it was a 1963 Broadway production of "Mother Courage and Her Children" that altered the course of his life forever. In its cast was Anne Bancroft, who was dating Mel Brooks at the time, and the relationship established between the two men eventually led to Wilder's becoming part of Brooks' "stock company." His Actor's Studio connection may have helped him land his first feature, Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), in which he drew much favorable attention in a small but memorable role as a frightened young undertaker abducted by the legendary duo. Wilder's performance as the endearingly frantic Leo Bloom in "The Producers" (1967) kicked off his celebrated collaboration with Brooks and garnered him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. His...

Comedic actor Gene Wilder caught his first big break playing a small roll in the off-Broadway production of Arnold Wesker's "Roots" and followed quickly with his Broadway debut as the comic valet in "The Complaisant Lover" (both 1961), for which he won the Clement Derwent Award. His other Broadway credits included "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1963, with Kirk Douglas), "The White House" (1964, with Helen Hayes), and "Luv" (1966), but it was a 1963 Broadway production of "Mother Courage and Her Children" that altered the course of his life forever. In its cast was Anne Bancroft, who was dating Mel Brooks at the time, and the relationship established between the two men eventually led to Wilder's becoming part of Brooks' "stock company." His Actor's Studio connection may have helped him land his first feature, Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), in which he drew much favorable attention in a small but memorable role as a frightened young undertaker abducted by the legendary duo. Wilder's performance as the endearingly frantic Leo Bloom in "The Producers" (1967) kicked off his celebrated collaboration with Brooks and garnered him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. His career gained momentum as he played a swashbuckler in Bud Yorkin's "Start the Revolution without Me" (1970), the candy impresario of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (1971) and a sheep-smitten doctor in Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex* (* but were afraid to ask)" (197). But the hilarity was just beginning, Wilder reteamed with Brooks for the inspired lunacy of "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" (both 1974), earning his second Oscar nomination for his first-time screenwriting efforts (along with Brooks) on the latter. Spurred by these triumphs, Wilder made his directorial debut (in addition to acting and starring) with "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" (1975), featuring actors from the Brooks' troupe like Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman and Dom DeLuise. Wilder's subsequent behind-the-camera genre spoofs have, on the whole, been disappointing, with the exception of "The Woman in Red" (1984), a broad remake of the French farce "Pardon Mon Affaire". His first association with Richard Pryor had come on "Blazing Saddles", but Pryor (co-screenwriter) had lost out in his bid for the Cleavon Little role. The two first acted together in the highly entertaining and commercially successful "Silver Streak" (1976) and scored at the box office again with "Stir Crazy" (1980), but their later efforts ("See No Evil, Hear No Evil" 1989, "Another You" 1991) were mediocre, the final film particularly marred by Pryor's all-too-apparent real-life health problems. Wilder starred in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Something Wilder" (1994-95) and made his London stage debut in Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" in 1996.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Haunted Honeymoon (1986) Director
2.
  Woman In Red, The (1984) Director
3.
  Sunday Lovers (1980) Director (American Segment)
4.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Alice in Wonderland (1999) Mock Turtle
2.
 Another You (1991) George/Abe Fielding
3.
 Funny About Love (1990) Duffy Bergman
4.
5.
 Hello Actors Studio (1988) Himself
6.
 Haunted Honeymoon (1986) Larry Abbot
7.
 Woman In Red, The (1984) Theodore Pierce
8.
 Hanky-Panky (1982) Michael Jordan
9.
 Sunday Lovers (1980) Skippy
10.
 Stir Crazy (1980) Skip Donahue
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1956:
Served with US Army
:
Taught fencing and worked as a toy salesman and as a chauffeur
1961:
Off-Broadway acting debut in "Roots"
1961:
Broadway debut as the comic valet in "The Complaisant Lover"
1963:
Portrayed Billy Bibbit in original NYC stage production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
1966:
Acted in CBS movie presentation of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman"; played Bernard
1967:
Film acting debut in "Bonnie and Clyde"
1968:
Earned Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for Mel Brooks' "The Producers"
1971:
Offered a tour de force in title role of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"
1972:
Played a memorable comic turn as a man who fell in love with a sheep for the bestiality segment of Woody Allen's "Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex* (*but were afraid to ask)"
1974:
Reteamed with Brooks for "Blazing Saddles"; shared Best Screenplay Oscar nomination
1974:
Co-screenwriting debut (with director Brooks), "Young Frankenstein"; also starred
1975:
Film directing and solo screenwriting debut, "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother"; also acted
1976:
Starred opposite Richard Pryor in "Silver Streak"
1977:
Film producing debut (also director, writer and actor), "The World's Greatest Lover"; composed a song for picture
1980:
Reunited with Pryor for "Stir Crazy"
1982:
Starred opposite future wife Gilda Radner in Sidney Poitier's "Hanky Panky"
1984:
Directed and acted in "The Woman in Red"; second film with Radner
1986:
Last feature with Radner, "Haunted Honeymoon"; produced, directed and acted
1989:
Reteamed with Pryor for the misfire "See No Evil, Hear No Evil"
1990:
Helped establish the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (date approximate)
1991:
Last film to date with Pryor, "Another You"
:
Starred as a sensitive, emotional adman and late-in-life father in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Something Wilder"
1996:
Made London stage debut in Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor"
2000:
Disclosed a 1999 diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Actors Studio: New York , New York -
University of Iowa: Iowa City , Iowa - 1955
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School: - 1955 - 1956
Herbert Berghof Studio: New York , New York - 1957 - 1959

Notes

Wilder won a 1975 Nebula Award (best dramatic presentation) for "Young Frankenstein".

He enjoys watercolor painting in his spare time.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Mary Mercier. Playwright. Divorced.
wife:
Mary Joan Silberman. Married on October 27, 1967; divorced in 1974.
wife:
Gilda Radner. Actor, comedienne. Married from September 18, 1984 until her death from cancer on May 20, 1989.
wife:
Karen Webb. Hearing specialist. Married on September 8, 1991; born c. 1950; met in 1988 while helping Wilder prepare to play a deaf man in the film "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" (1989); administrator for New York League for the Hard of Hearing.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
William J Silberman. Bottle manufacturer. Russian immigrant; manufactured miniature beer and whiskey bottles.
mother:
Jeanne Silberman.
daughter:
Katharine Anastasia Silberman. Mother, Mary Joan Schutz.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Kiss Me Like a Stranger"

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