GENE WILDER Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Gene Wilder                                                                   
Birth name: Jerome Silberman                                                         
Born: 11 June 1933 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.                                       
Gene Wilder (born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933) is an Academy Award-nominated   
American actor who is best known for his role as Willy Wonka, his collaborations     
with Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein, and       
his four movies with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak; Stir Crazy; See No Evil, Hear     
No Evil; and Another You.                                                           
Born in Milwaukee, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Wilder studied drama at     
the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity,   
graduated in 1955, and later attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the     
UK. He served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958 where he served as a       
Medic in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Valley Forge Army             
Hospital in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.                                             
After the Army he received a scholarship to the HB studio, supporting himself,       
at first, with unemployment insurance and some savings, and afterwards with odd     
jobs such as driving a limousine and teaching fencing. His career started with       
the theater in various off-Broadway shows before making it on the Great White       
Way. Around 1961 he became a member of The Actors Studio and gained notoriety in     
the Broadway scene with the plays "The Complaisant Lover" and "Roots", for which     
he received the Clarence Derwent Award. It was several years later the movie         
Mother Courage and Her Children featuring actress Anne Bancroft was being cast       
in 1964 that Wilder's career received an even greater boost. Comedian Mel Brooks,   
whom Bancroft was dating at the time, took a liking to Wilder and cast him in       
several films.                                                                       
Wilder's first big part was in Bonnie and Clyde where he played an undertaker       
abducted by the couple. Perhaps his best known roles are as Willy Wonka in Willy     
Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein     
and as Leo Bloom in The Producers. During this time he also worked as the voice     
of "Letterman" on the children's educational television series The Electric         
Company from 1972 to 1977.                                                           
In the late 1970s and 1980s he appeared in a number of movies with Richard Pryor,   
making them the most prolific inter-racial comedy double act in movies during       
the period. However, Wilder later admitted the two were not as close as people       
believed. He said that his troubled co-star's drug addiction made him very           
difficult and unpleasant to work with. However, he also maintains that he felt       
he had a better chemistry with Pryor as a co-star than with anyone else he has       
worked with.  In all, they made four movies together: Silver                         
Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) and Another       
You (1991).                                                                         
In 1979 Wilder starred alongside Harrison Ford in the comedy The Frisco Kid. He     
also wrote and starred in Murder in a Small Town and its sequel, The Lady in         
Question as a theater producer turned amateur detective Larry "Cash" Carter.