For the love of comedy, if there’s a chance to bring back some deceased icons in Hollywood, the name Gene Wilder will surely make the list.
The veteran American actor was also a screenwriter, director, producer, singer-songwriter and author who will be widely remembered for his comedic roles in some classic movies he starred in, especially in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; Blazing Saddles; Young Frankenstein; Stir Crazy and The Producers. While he began his movie career in the 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde, Wilder became famous as a favourite of writer/director Mel Brooks.
Gene Wilder was a comedy icon as well as a smart, industrious and often very funny-in-a-unique-way actor and writer. He had always put a smile on people’s faces with his acting skills and naturally funny face. Thus, it’s only fair to say that the whole world lost a rare gem when he took his final bow.
Gene Wilder Wiki, Bio
He was born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Jeanne (Baer) and William J. Silberman, a manufacturer and salesman of novelty items. Both his parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. As expected Wilder was raised Jewish though he held only the Golden Rule as his philosophy. According to him, he does not believe in God.
Like most great actors, Wilder’s interest in acting was developed from an early stage, at age 8. AT the time, his mother was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and the doctor told him to “try and make her laugh.” He graduated from high school and went on to study communication and theatre arts at the University of Iowa. He also spent a year studying theatre and fencing at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, United Kingdom. He became the first freshman to win the All-School Fencing Championship.
His famous stage name was birthed at age 26 when he decided to go for the moniker Gene Wilder. His new first name came from a character in a Thomas Wolfe novel while his last came from the playwright Thornton Wilder. He made his film debut with a minor role in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde and took on his first major role a year later in The Producers. While the film flopped at box office, Wilder earned an Academy Award nomination for best-supporting actor for his role as Leo Bloom. This opened many doors for him and he started scooping roles in several comedies.
Wilder co-starred with Richard Pryor in four projects: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) and Another You (1991). Also, Stir Crazy, in which both actors played prison inmates, was a notable hit which helped Wilder to build an unforgettable profile in the industry.
After starring in tons of movies, Wilder used his later years to focus on being a novelist, writing a memoir and several novels.
Gene Wilder Net Worth
Decades of hard work paid off for Gene Wilder who had amassed $20 million during his time on earth. Most of his fortune was earned by working as an actor, director, screenwriter, and author. Apparently, his roles in several iconic films was not a waste of talent.
Gene Wilder Spouse, Daughter, Children
Between 1960-2016, Wilder was married four times. He first married Mary Mercier and their union lasted five years from 1960-1965. In 1967, he got married to Mary Joan Schutz and adopted her daughter, Katharine. Nevetheless, he later became estranged to Katherine after he and Schutz went their seperate ways. Wilder married fellow actor/comedian Gilda Radner in 1984 and they stayed together until her death in 1989. Wilder then married Karen Boyer in 1991 and their union lasted till he died in 2016.
Is Gene Wilder Really Dead?
Though he had his fair share of death hoaxes, Gene Wilder actually died on August 28, 2016. He was 83.
Tributes started pouring in after several reports emerged, confirming his death. This was after his family confirmed the news to international publications. The iconic actor passed on in Connecticut as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Wilder was reportedly diagnosed with the disease three years before it took its toll on him. However, he kept the condition private so as not to disappoint his fans or make them feel sad. The funnyman simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less happy person in the world.
Before he took his final bow, Wilder was full of life. He continued to enjoy art, music and kissing with his lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen.