In the year of 1933 on the 11th of June, a star was born. The name that was given to the boy born upon that day was Jerome Silberman but the man he grew up to be we knew him as the name Gene Wilder.
Gene was so many things rolled into one, an Actor a screenwriter, director and author. A loving man and caring one at that.
Acting from the years of 1961 and ending a long spanned career In 2003 He brought us some memorable moments over those years. From Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, The Woman In Red and the side splitting movies he created with his dear friend the late and great Richard Pryor those films were Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, See No Evil Hear No Evil and Another You.
His films are timeless; He created laughter in the hearts of those who watched him. He was an actor that had this gentle side that radiated from the television screen into our homes and also in our hearts. His pure blue eyes that reached into your soul.
I always thought his eyes looked sad yet soulful and when he smiled he would light up a place in your heart.
The likes of this world has lost someone who gave us so much laughter.
The movies he created, The wisdom he left behind will forever echo on in the hearts and minds of his fans and to all those that love him
Gene Wilder began his career on stage, and in 1961 made his screen debut in an episode of the TV series The Play of the week
But Gene’s first film role was portraying a hostage in the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde. But it wasn’t until seven years later that Wilder’s first major role as the character Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for supporting actor. ( info resourced from wikipedia )
That was the first of several collaborations with Writer/Director/Actor Mel Brooks
Different things seem to spring to mind about that great mans career, I grew up watching Gene Wilder like many of his fans did too. But I get drawn to a sadder and almost poetic style manner about him.
In regards to Gene’s third wife Gilda Radner she was taken from this life far too soon. In October of 1986 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, both Gene and Gilda wanted to start a family and have children but she suffered miscarriages. After the cancer diagnosis she had radiotherapy treatments and went into remission. Sadly a year and a half later the cancer returned and started to spread to other parts of her body and she passed away on May 20th 1989.
In his wife’s memory Gene created the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Centre in Los Angeles. Gene became a advocate and strong voice about cancer and also cancer treatment. He became the voice of not only his late wife Gilda but the voice of many encouraging others to get checked and trying to find a cure to such many forms of cancers.
The statement made by Gene Wilder about his wife’s passing was ‘I always thought she’d pull through.’
Gene was married four times and had not fathered any children of his own.
Another quote seems to spring to mind from a different era in his life this quote taken from Time Out New York Magazine from 2013 Gene was asked in the magazine interview whether he would act again if a suitable film project came his way, To which Gene Wilder responded,
“I’m tired of watching the bombing, shooting, killing, swearing and 3-D. I get 52 movies a year sent to me, and maybe there are three good [ones]. That’s why I went into writing. It’s not that I wouldn’t act again. I’d say, ‘Give me the script. If it’s something wonderful, I’ll do it.’ But I don’t get anything like that”
To that I say that was a real shame, we could of gotten so much more acting from such a man who brought us the classics. Timeless classics that will forever be part of a cherished collection.
He has given us laughs, smiles and even tears. He left us on this world at his home in Stamford Connecticut , from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He had his condition private, but was diagnosed three years before his death Gene Wilder’s nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, said in a statement “that this was so as not to sadden his younger fans.”
According to Gene’s family, he passed away peacefully holding hands with his wife Karen as he listened to his favourite music.
One can only wonder what he was listening to, what was going through his mind in his final days. Was he thinking of times gone by?
Although life can pass us by, its what we do with our lives and our memories and legacy that we leave behind. I thank Gene for bringing us the laughter and I hope that he has caught up with his dear friend Richard Pryor of whom he always spoke fondly of.
We shall cherish the memories, the laughter and everything that Gene has left us with on the silver screen.
Thank You Gene. We will miss you.
‘We are the music makers. And We are the dreamers of Dreams’ – Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka