Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder

Original Name Jerome Silberman
Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USA
Death 29 Aug 2016 (aged 83)
Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 169071766 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Actor. Born Jerome Silberman, he was one of America’s foremost comic actors known by all generations for his performances in such classics as 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' (1971), 'Young Frankenstein' (1974) and 'Stir Crazy' (1980). He studied theater at the University of Iowa, then studied Shakespeare at the Bristol Old Vic Theater School in England, where he was the first freshman to win the school fencing championship. He next enrolled part time at the HB Studio in New York, while also serving a two-year Army hitch as an aide in the psychiatric unit of the Valley Forge Army Hospital in Pennsylvania. After his discharge, he won a spot at the Actors Studio, and it was then that he adopted the name Gene Wilder: In his first major role on Broadway, he played the chaplain in a 1963 production of 'Mother Courage and Her Children', which ran for less than two months. He made his movie debut in 1967 in Arthur Penn’s celebrated crime drama, 'Bonnie and Clyde', in which he was memorably kidnapped by the notorious bank robbers played by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. The following year, he appeared in 'The Producers', the first of three films by Mel Brooks that the team would go on to make together. The part earned Wilder an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as the wizardly title character in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' The film was a box-office disappointment, but it went on to gain a devoted following, and Willy Wonka remains one of the roles in which Wilder will most be remembered by. Among other memorable films he would have roles in were 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask' (1972), 'Blazing Saddles' (1974), 'Silver Streak', (1976), 'The Woman in Red' (1984), 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' (1989) and 'Another You' (1991). Among television shows and made-for-TV movies he appeared in were 'The Scarecrow', 'Thursday's Game', 'Something Wilder' (in which he starred), 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Will & Grace'. In 1982, he met the 'Saturday Night Live' comedian Gilda Radner when they were both cast in the suspense comedy 'Hanky Panky'. The couple married two years later. It would be the second marriage for both. After Radner died in 1989, he helped to found an ovarian cancer detection center in her name, in Los Angeles. He also contributed to a book, 'Gilda’s Disease'. Wilder himself developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1999, but with chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant, he was in remission by 2005. He also published 'Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art', 'My French Whore' , 'The Woman Who Wouldn’t', 'Something to Remember You By' and a story collection, 'What Is This Thing Called Love?. Wilder died of complications of Alzheimer's Disease.

Bio by: Louis du Mort

Family Members



See more Wilder memorials in:


How famous was Gene Wilder?

Current rating:

529 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Dan Ryan
  • Added: 29 Aug 2016
  • Find a Grave Memorial 169071766
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gene Wilder (11 Jun 1933–29 Aug 2016), Find a Grave Memorial no. 169071766, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.