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Remembering Gene Wilder

Wilder was a wonderfully talented actor, who before becoming a movie star had studied classical and method acting and been known for serious roles onstage. What made him so unbelievably funny was that he was believable as the character no matter how outrageous.

His career didn’t take off immediately. Wilder kept getting offers to play hysterical characters, and he fought against it. “The Producers,” however, heralded a brilliant collaboration, with Brooks, who cast Wilder as the lead in “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein” — or “Franken-STEEN,” as his character angrily insisted.

That film had been Wilder’s idea, and he wrote the original script, which he then rewrote with Brooks after he came on to direct. Brooks was going to cast him for the villain in his faux Western “Blazing Saddles,” but Wilder convinced him to let him play the gunfighter Waco Kid.

Wilder, whose best work came in collaborations with director-writer Mel Brooks and actor Richard Pryor, died at his home in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, the family said in a statement.

 

Here are his top movies

 

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

 

Blazing Saddles (1974)

 

Young Frankenstein (1974)

 

Silver Streak (1976)

 

Stir Crazy (1980)

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