Jerome Silberman/aka Gene Wilder
June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016
Comic actor/screenwriter Gene Wilder died today, Monday, his family confirmed. He was 83.
Wilder first came to public attention in the television series Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1962, and is best remembered for a brief but energetic appearance as the victim of a car theft in Bonnie and Clyde as well as his performance as Leopold Bloom in The Producers.
The Producers proved to be the stepping stone for a series of collaborations with writer/director Mel Brooks, landing him leading roles in 1974’s Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein – which earned the pair an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Wilder is also known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991). Wilder directed and wrote several of his films, including The Woman in Red (1984).
His third wife, actress Gilda Radner, appeared with him in three films until her death from ovarian cancer, a loss that spurred Wilder to lobby for awareness and treatment of the disease.
In recent years Wilder turned his attention to writing, producing a memoir in 2005, Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art; a collection of stories, What Is This Thing Called Love? (2010); and the novels My French Whore (2007), The Woman Who Wouldn’t (2008) and Something to Remember You By (2013).