Gene Wilder - Comedians, Family and Personal Life

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Gene Wilder's Personal Details

Known for the portrayal of Willy Wonka in ‘Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’, Gene Wilder is a former American actor, comedian, director, screenwriter, author and activist.

InformationDetail
BirthdayJune 11, 1933
NationalityAmerican
FamousAtheists, Atheists/Agnostics, Jewish Actors, Jewish Comedians, Film & Theater Personalities, Actors, Comedians
City/StateIowa
SpousesGilda Radner (1984–89), Karen Boyer (1991–present), Mary Joan Schutz (1967–74), Mary Mercier (1960–65)
Known asJerome Silberman
Childrens Katharine Wilder
Universities
  • Washington High School
  • HB Studio
  • University of Iowa
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Gilda's Club
  • Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center
Birth PlaceMilwaukee
Height178cm
GenderMale
FatherWilliam J. Silberman
MotherJeanne Baer Silberman
Net Worth$20 million as of Apr 17,2017
Sun SignGemini
Born inMilwaukee

// Famous Comedians

Gene Wilder's photo

Who is Gene Wilder?

Jerome Silberman, who is famous by his stage name ‘Gene Wilder’, is a retired Hollywood actor, television actor, director, screenwriter, author, etc. He was born in a Jewish family in Wisconsin and had an interest in acting from a very young age. He started taking interest in the local community theatre in Wisconsin. He served sometime in the army as a paramedic but kept pursuing his dream of acting by studying in HB Studio at the same time. He was later offered admission in Actors Studio and started doing small stints in the Off Broadway scene. His first big role was in the movie called ‘The Producers’. After that he did some comedies and worked in Woody Allen’s ‘‘Everything You Always Wanted to know About Sex’. He also appeared as Willy Wonka in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, which became one of the most memorable roles of his life. Wilder used to write scripts of his films and directed some movies as well. He has worked with great artists like: Harrison Ford, Gilda Radner, Richard Pryor, etc. He was married for four times in his life and one of his marriages was with his co-star from the movie ‘Hanky Panky’ - Gilda Radner.

// Famous Film & Theater Personalities

Childhood & Early Life

Gene Wilder was born in a Jewish family to William J. Wilder and Jeanne Silberman, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He started taking great interest in acting since the age of 8, from the time his mother had rheumatic fever.

His mother recognized his talent and knowing that Wisconsin was not a good place to become an actor, she sent him to Black-Foxe. Wilder was bullied and sexually assaulted there and returned back home.

Wilder got involved in the local community theatre in Wisconsin and by the time he was 15, he performed for the first time in the production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. He did his graduation from Washington High School.

Career

In 1955, Wilder got admission in Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Bristol, England. He studied fencing there and became the All-School Fencing Champion. He returned to the U. S. during the same time and got enrolled at the HB Studio.

In 1956, he joined the army and went to Fort Sam Houston. To remain close to New York in order to learn acting, he served as a paramedic in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology in an army hospital, Pennsylvania.

In 1957, after the death of his mother, Wilder was relieved from military service and he started learning acting at HB Studio and side by side did odd jobs like, fencing instructor, limousine driver etc. to support himself.

After years of studying acting at HB Studio, he left the studio and took private lessons from Lee Strasberg and got selected into the Actors Studio and started getting noticed in the Off Broadway scene.

In 1963, Wilder got his first lead role in the Broadway production called ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ opposite Anne Bancroft. Around the same time, he toured for ‘Death of a Salesman’ which was televised by CBC.

In 1967, Wilder got his first role in a motion picture called ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, which was directed by Arthur Penn. The same year, he did his first lead role in the movie ‘The Producers’ for which he auditioned with Zero Mostel.

In 1969, Wilder went to live in Paris to act in ‘Start the Revolution Without Me’, which was directed by Bud Yorkin. It was a comedy based on French Revolution. He did the script read for ‘Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx’.

In 1971, Wilder’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ was released. It was directed by Mel Stuart. The movie did not do very well commercially. He did a segment for Woody Allen’s ‘Everything You Always Wanted to know About Sex’.

In 1974, while working on the script of ‘Young Frankenstein’, he did a cameo for Mel Brooks’ ‘Blazing Sadles’ which was offered to him at the last minute and ‘The Little Prince’ which was a musical film shot in London.

Around the same time, ‘Young Frankenstein’ was released and became a huge hit on the box office. Wilder sold its rights to 20th Century Fox. It received the Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay category.

In 1975, he made his directorial debut with ‘The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother’. He also wrote the script of the movie. Next year, he starred in ‘Silver Streak’ along with Richard Pryor, who got the role on his recommendation.

In 1977, he wrote, produced and directed the film called ‘The World’s Greatest Lover’, an idea that was inspired by Fellini’s ‘The White Sheik’. The movie failed commercially and critically. He did ‘The Frisco Kid’ along with Harrison Ford in the same year.

In 1980, ‘Stir Crazy’ came out in which Wilder starred along with Richard Pryor. The movie became an international hit instantly. It was and is still considered as one of the best comedies in Hollywood.

In 1982, he did ‘Hanky Panky’ starring opposite comedienne Gilda Radner. Around same time, he directed another movie ‘The Woman in Red’, in which he acted with Radner and Kelly LeBrock. It won an Academy Award.

In the late eighties, Wilder starred in another movie With Gilda Radner, ‘Haunted Honeymood’ which did not impress the audience as well as the critics. He also did a movie called ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil’.

In the 90s, he did movies like: ‘Funny About Love’, ‘Another You’, ‘Murder in a Small Town’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘The Lady in Question’. He also did a NBC sitcom ‘Something Wilder’ but it lasted for only one season.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1960, he got married to his girlfriend Mary Mercier. He met her while he was studying acting at the HB studio. Most of their married life they remained apart from each other and they separated within 5 years.

In 1967, Wilder got married for the second time with Mary Joan Schutz. Schutz had a daughter named Katherine from her previous marriage whom he adopted after marriage. They both got divorced after being together for 7 years.

In 1984, he got married for the third time to his co-star Gilda Radner. They got married in the south of France but within two years of marriage it was diagnosed that Radner had ovarian cancer. She died after battling it for 3 years.

In 1991, Wilder got married for the fourth time to Karen Webb, a clinical supervisor for the New York League for the Hard of Hearing. He had met her on the sets of ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil’. They live in Connecticut.

Trivia

Wilder’s mother and her third wife Gilda Radner both died of ovarian cancer.

He has a nephew who is a Director/Screenwriter in the Hollywood - Jordan Walker-Pearlman. He considers him his son.

// Famous Jewish Comedians

Gene Wilder awards

YearNameAward

Primetime Emmy Awards

2003Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesWill & Grace (1998)

Gene Wilder biography timelines

  • // 11th Jun 1933
    Gene Wilder was born in a Jewish family to William J. Wilder and Jeanne Silberman, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He started taking great interest in acting since the age of 8, from the time his mother had rheumatic fever.
  • // 1955
    In 1955, Wilder got admission in Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Bristol, England. He studied fencing there and became the All-School Fencing Champion. He returned to the U. S. during the same time and got enrolled at the HB Studio.
  • // 1956
    In 1956, he joined the army and went to Fort Sam Houston. To remain close to New York in order to learn acting, he served as a paramedic in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology in an army hospital, Pennsylvania.
  • // 1957
    In 1957, after the death of his mother, Wilder was relieved from military service and he started learning acting at HB Studio and side by side did odd jobs like, fencing instructor, limousine driver etc. to support himself.
  • // 1960 To 1965
    In 1960, he got married to his girlfriend Mary Mercier. He met her while he was studying acting at the HB studio. Most of their married life they remained apart from each other and they separated within 5 years.
  • // 1963
    In 1963, Wilder got his first lead role in the Broadway production called ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ opposite Anne Bancroft. Around the same time, he toured for ‘Death of a Salesman’ which was televised by CBC.
  • // 1967
    In 1967, Wilder got his first role in a motion picture called ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, which was directed by Arthur Penn. The same year, he did his first lead role in the movie ‘The Producers’ for which he auditioned with Zero Mostel.
  • // 1967 To 1974
    In 1967, Wilder got married for the second time with Mary Joan Schutz. Schutz had a daughter named Katherine from her previous marriage whom he adopted after marriage. They both got divorced after being together for 7 years.
  • // 1969
    In 1969, Wilder went to live in Paris to act in ‘Start the Revolution Without Me’, which was directed by Bud Yorkin. It was a comedy based on French Revolution. He did the script read for ‘Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx’.
  • // 1971
    In 1971, Wilder’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ was released. It was directed by Mel Stuart. The movie did not do very well commercially. He did a segment for Woody Allen’s ‘Everything You Always Wanted to know About Sex’.
  • // 1974
    In 1974, while working on the script of ‘Young Frankenstein’, he did a cameo for Mel Brooks’ ‘Blazing Sadles’ which was offered to him at the last minute and ‘The Little Prince’ which was a musical film shot in London.
  • // 1975
    In 1975, he made his directorial debut with ‘The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother’. He also wrote the script of the movie. Next year, he starred in ‘Silver Streak’ along with Richard Pryor, who got the role on his recommendation.
  • // 1977
    In 1977, he wrote, produced and directed the film called ‘The World’s Greatest Lover’, an idea that was inspired by Fellini’s ‘The White Sheik’. The movie failed commercially and critically. He did ‘The Frisco Kid’ along with Harrison Ford in the same year.
  • // 1980
    In 1980, ‘Stir Crazy’ came out in which Wilder starred along with Richard Pryor. The movie became an international hit instantly. It was and is still considered as one of the best comedies in Hollywood.
  • // 1982
    In 1982, he did ‘Hanky Panky’ starring opposite comedienne Gilda Radner. Around same time, he directed another movie ‘The Woman in Red’, in which he acted with Radner and Kelly LeBrock. It won an Academy Award.
  • // 1984 To 1989
    In 1984, he got married for the third time to his co-star Gilda Radner. They got married in the south of France but within two years of marriage it was diagnosed that Radner had ovarian cancer. She died after battling it for 3 years.
  • // 1990
    In the 90s, he did movies like: ‘Funny About Love’, ‘Another You’, ‘Murder in a Small Town’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘The Lady in Question’. He also did a NBC sitcom ‘Something Wilder’ but it lasted for only one season.
  • // 1991
    In 1991, Wilder got married for the fourth time to Karen Webb, a clinical supervisor for the New York League for the Hard of Hearing. He had met her on the sets of ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil’. They live in Connecticut.

// Famous Jewish Actors

Gene Wilder's FAQ

  • What is Gene Wilder birthday?

    Gene Wilder was born at 1933-06-11

  • Where is Gene Wilder's birth place?

    Gene Wilder was born in Milwaukee

  • What is Gene Wilder nationalities?

    Gene Wilder's nationalities is American

  • Who is Gene Wilder spouses?

    Gene Wilder's spouses is Gilda Radner (1984–89), Karen Boyer (1991–present), Mary Joan Schutz (1967–74), Mary Mercier (1960–65)

  • Who is Gene Wilder childrens?

    Gene Wilder's childrens is Katharine Wilder

  • What was Gene Wilder universities?

    Gene Wilder studied at Washington High School, HB Studio, University of Iowa

  • Which company or organization was founded by Gene Wilder?

    Gene Wilder was the founder/co-founder of Gilda's Club, Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center

  • How tall is Gene Wilder?

    Gene Wilder's height is 178

  • Who is Gene Wilder's father?

    Gene Wilder's father is William J. Silberman

  • Who is Gene Wilder's mother?

    Gene Wilder's mother is Jeanne Baer Silberman

  • What is Gene Wilder's sun sign?

    Gene Wilder is Gemini