Richard Nixon was an odd president, an even more unusual,
For anyone who appreciates classic comedy, Gene Wilder is an icon of the genre. The height of his career was more abbreviated than many, with his most popular films existing primarily in the 70s, but during his run Wilder created wonderful characters and hilarious films. Here are 9 things about this comedic royalty you may not have known…
1. Wilder’s most celebrated collaborator was Richard Pryor. The two appeared together in four films: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) and Another You (1991).
2. Says he picked the name “Gene Wilder” because he couldn’t see a Jerry Silberman (his real name) playing Hamlet. He admits now that he can’t see “Gene Wilder” playing Hamlet either.
3. Has been a staunch liberal Democrat for many years, and was staunchly against the Vietnam War and the Iraq war in the 2000s.
4. While serving in the United States Army, he was assigned as a Medic to the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Valley Forge General Hospital in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He worked in treating psychiatric patients.
5. After his wife Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer, Gene co-founded Gilda’s Club, a support group to raise awareness of the disease.
6. Was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy. He made a full recovery in 2000.
7. His performance as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (“that’s FRONKensteen”) in Young Frankenstein is ranked #9 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
8. His performance as Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is ranked #38 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
9. Wilder is also an author, and released his debut novel My French Whore in 2000.