Remembering Gene Wilder, With Some Classic Film Clips

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Gene Wilder in 1974's Blazing Saddles

Gene Wilder in 1974’s Blazing Saddles

Actor Gene Wilder, who starred in a long list of comedy roles in such beloved Mel Brooks movies as Blazing SaddlesYoung Frankenstein and The Producers, died August 29, 2016, at 83 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

On Twitter, Brooks wrote: “Gene Wilder-One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.”

The rubber-faced comic actor, born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisc., had a string of comedy movie hits during a long run in the 1970s and ’80s with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryThe Woman in Red and his buddy movies with the late comic actor Richard Pryor, including Silver Streak and Stir Crazy.

Wilder first teamed with Brooks as Leo Bloom in 1968’s The Producers, his first leading role in a feature film and for which he was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor.

The comedic genius became a steady member of Brooks’ ensemble – which included Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman and Harvey Korman – acting in such iconic roles as Jim “The Waco Kid” in 1974’s Blazing Saddles and Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in 1974’s Young Frankenstein.

Here’s the great scene where Wilder’s Dr. Frederick Frankenstein meets Marty Feldman’s Igor and Teri Garr’s Inga in Young Frankenstein. “Werewolf?” “There wolf.”

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Wilder earned a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for the title role in  1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Here he is in one of his most memorable scenes as a singer…

In 1972, Wilder starred in one of seven sketches in Woody Allen’s 1972 film Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask).

Wilder married Saturday Night Live original cast member Gilda Radner in 1984. Two years later, the comedienne was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died in 1989 at just 42 years old. The pair had collaborated on several projects including the films The Woman in Red and Haunted Honeymoon.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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