Gene Wilder Remembered: His 5 Greatest Performances
The wild hair. The big blue eyes with a manic twinkle. Gene Wilder, star of more than 30 motion pictures including ribald comedies such as Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein and beloved children’s movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at his home in Connecticut (August 29, 2016).
Wilder was nominated for two Oscars—for best supporting actor in The Producers (1967) and for co-screenwriting Young Frankenstein with frequent collaborator Mel Brookes in 1974. In 2003, Wilder won a Primetime Emmy as guest actor for his role on Will & Grace.
Wilder was married to fellow comic actor Gilda Radner for five years until she passed away from ovarian cancer in 1989. Wilder was said to have been so devastated that he seldom worked after.
Our favourite Wilder screen roles include The Producers (1967), where he starred alongside Zero Mostel and was nominated for an Oscar. The film has since spawned a major Broadway musical hit.
Blazing Saddles (1974), the satirical western, was a box-office smash when it was released.
Young Frankenstein (1974) gave Wilder his second Academy Award nomination, this time for co-screenwriting with Mel Brooks.
Will & Grace (2003) was his last on-screen role and it nabbed him a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.