Gene Wilder

Actor / Filmmaker

Born: 11 June 1933
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Best known as: Frizzy-haired star of Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein

Name at birth: Jerome Silberman

Gene Wilder made his movie debut in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde (with Warren Beatty). He earned an Oscar nomination for his next movie, The Producers, his first collaboration with director Mel Brooks. In the 1970s, Wilder and Brooks made some of the most successful comedies of the era, including Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Wilder played the eccentric title character in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory and co-starred with Richard Pryor in four comedies, including Silver Streak (1976) and Stir Crazy (1980). Wilder also wrote and directed several comedies, including Haunted Honeymoon (1986). In 1984 he married comedian Gilda Radner; she died of cancer in 1989. Wilder himself was treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1999. His 2005 autobiography was titled Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art.

Extra credit:

Wilder graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communication and Theatre Arts in 1955… Some sources list Wilder’s year of birth as 1935. However, statements in his autobiography seem to confirm 1933 as the correct year.

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