Gene Wilder’s Passing

Gene Wilder, a man who could light up anyone´s day with his jokes, died on August 29 in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was well known for his incredible ability to act in comedies and directing movies, like Willy Wonka or Young Frankenstein.

¨Gene Wilder- One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship,¨ filmmaker and long-time collaborator Mel Brooks said.

As a kid, Wilder was known as Jerome Silberman. His mother was diagnosed with a rheumatic heart disease, and because of this, the doctor told him not to yell at her, but instead make her laugh. That was the beginning of his career as a comedian. He later debuted in Romeo and Juliet as Balthasar. Wilder went on to the University of Iowa to study Communications and Theatre Arts.

Wilder later took his new first name, Gene, from a Thomas Wolfe novel, and his last, Wilder, from a playwright Thornton Wilder. Ann Bancroft, co-star in Mother Courage and Her Children, introduced Wilder to her boyfriend, Mel Brooks. Brooks and Wilder would grow to become great friends and would share a Nebula award for Best Dramatic Writing in Young Frankenstein. Wilder started appearing in many big hits such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and won several awards, like Best Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.

Although Wilder had great success as a comedian, he did not have the best of luck with his love life. He married four times, but stopped after marrying Gilda Radner, who died of Ovarian Cancer in 1989. He became a writer in 2007, authoring many great novels before retiring. Although he is now gone, we know Wilder left behind a lifetime of laughter that everyone can look back on.

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