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Gene Wilder

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Gene Wilder
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Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder (born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American actor best known for his collaborations with writer, producer, director Mel Brooks. Gene Wilder made many movies with Brooks starting with The Producers in 1968. He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in The Producers. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing Young Frankenstein with Mel Brooks.

Born in Milwaukee, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Wilder studied drama at the University of Iowa and later attended Britain's Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958.

Returning to the United States, Wilder sought work in the theater supporting himself by driving a limousine and teaching fencing.

His first big part was in Bonnie and Clyde where he played an undertaker abducted by the couple.

Perhaps one of his best known roles is that of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

In the late 1970s and 1980s he appeared in a number of movies with Richard Pryor, making them the most prolific inter-racial comedy double act in movies during the period.

Wilder was married to Saturday Night Live actress Gilda Radner from 1984 until her death from ovarian cancer in 1989. Since then he has remained active in promoting cancer awareness and treatment. Wilder himself was hospitalized with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1999 and made a full recovery in 2000.

He has been married to actress Karen Boyer since 1991.

On March 1, 2005 Wilder released his highly-personal memoir Kiss Me Like A Stranger, an account of his life covering everything from his childhood, when his mother died of heart disease, up through his late wife's death. He has been praised for the openness and honesty of his writing, setting it apart from other Hollywood memoirs.

Partial filmography

External links

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