Gene Wilder (born June 11, 1933) is widely considered one of the greatest, if not the
greatest, comedic actors ever. Probably best known for being the first actor to portray Willy Wonka
(see right), his collaborations with Mel Brooks
, and for his four co-starring appearances with Richard Pryor
Wilder met and fell in love with Saturday Night Live
original cast member Gilda Radner on the set of the movie Hanky Panky
(1982). They wed in 1984 and appeared together again in the films The Woman In Red
and Haunted Honeymoon
. Radner died after a long battle with ovarian cancer in 1989. Afterwards Wilder established the Gilda Radner Ovarian Detection Center at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
This actor provides examples of:
- Executive Meddling: He did two television Murder Mysteries for A&E 'Murder in a Small Town' and 'The Lady In Question'. Both got high ratings and critical praise, some even saying that his character, Larry "Cash" Carter, was the next Columbo. However, A&E ownership changed hands and they informed him there would be no more Cash Carter mysteries, leaving Wilder bitterly angry and causing him to retire completely from acting.
- Horsing Around: Ineptly in The Woman in Red, surprisingly well in Stir Crazy.
- Large Ham
- Leslie Nielsen Syndrome: Before starring in The Producers, he considered himself a dramatic actor.
- Love Freak: See Real Men Wear Pink below.
- One of Us: He's extremely tech savvy for a person of his age and one of his favorite pastimes is using the internet.
- Playing Against Type: His role as Wonka went completely opposite the roles he had (until then) been most famous for, as those previous roles were all in films most especially not appropriate for children.
- Actually, Silver Streak was this. Up until that point, Wilder almost exclusively played eccentrics or neurotics. Wonka falls in the "eccentric" category. His character in Silver Streak, George Caldwell, is a well adjusted book publisher who enjoys gardening and isn't particularly strange. He is thrown into a series of events that are more bizarre than his character. Perhaps the first time that ever happened with Wilder.
- Real Men Wear Pink: He has a love of romance novels and even wrote two himself, My French Whore and The Woman Who Wouldn't as well as a collection of short romantic stories called What is this Thing Called Love?
- Reclusive Artist
- Romance on the Set
- Sad Clown: Oh so much.
- Stage Names: He was born as Jerome Silberman.
- Star-Derailing Role: Haunted Honeymoon. Everything after that flop was bad news for Wilder.
- The Cast Show Off: Any time he could sneak some swordplay into a film, rest assured, he would. Wilder was a champion fencer in college.