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Gene Wilder

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

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

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

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

Blazing... "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: Cast ... actor screenwriter director producer salesman chauffeur fencing teacher
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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 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.

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