One of my favorite actors, Gene Wilder, died from complications of Alzheimer’s. In haste, I have collected links to videos and interviews to celebrate his life. Be it Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, or a host of other movies, Gene Wilder has provided us with decades of uniquely dynamic and hilarious entertainment.
Wilder was first and foremost an actor responsible for signature performances of characters ranging from the hysterically neurotic (The Producers) to the Waco Kid, a heavy drinking ex-gunfighter in Blazing Saddles. He brought his classical dramatic training fully into each role.
His 2005 interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, re-aired August 30, provides an intimate glimpse into his non-screen personality.
In that interview, he discusses his memoir, Kiss Me Like a Stranger, as well as reflects on his professional and personal life.
Publisher’s Description: Wilder talks about everything from his experiences in psychoanalysis to why he got into comedy to how a Midwestern childhood with a sick mother changed him. He talks about the creative process on stage and on screen, and divulges moments from life on the sets of some of the most iconic movies of our time. He also opens up about his search for love and his marriages, including his marriage to comedienne Gilda Radner.
If you have a need to know the man behind the persona, check out: Kiss Me Like A Stranger
In my sorrow and haste, I recommend we celebrate of his body of work including:
Young Frankenstein – My personal favorite and it stands the test of time.
The Producers – Even if you have seen the Broadway musical, you owe it to yourself to see where it all began. Zero Mostel is fantastic, but no one can beat Wilder’s performance as the mild-mannered accountant
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The New York Times described this as: “… a raunchy, no-holds-barred spoof of Hollywood westerns, Mr. Wilder had the relatively quiet role of the Waco Kid, a boozy ex-gunfighter who helps an improbable black sheriff (Cleavon Little) save a town from railroad barons and venal politicians.”
Silver Streak On a long-distance train trip, Wilder finds romance but also finds himself in danger of being killed, or at least pushed off the train. Richard Pryor co-stars.
Stir Crazy Also stars Richard Pryor. Two zany drifters are mistakenly sent to prison for a robbery they didn’t commit. They must rely on their wits in order to survive a sadistic warden, a hulking mass-murderer, and, worst of all, the inter-prison rodeo.
Bonnie and Clyde Wilder’s scene stealing bit part in this 1967 drama is brilliant.
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