The Life Of Gene Wilder, One Of Hollywood’s Greatest Comedians

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The son of a Russian souvenir seller who became one of Hollywood’s great comedians is…the life of Gene Wilder. 

  • Born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee in 1933, Wilder grew up as the son of a Russian immigrant father who sold souvenirs and a Polish mother
  • He caught the acting bug at school and went to university to study theater
  • Wilder moved to England before returning to New York to star in plays
  • His move into film began in 1963 when he was introduced to director Mel Brooks, who he would later collaborate with
  • 1968 saw Wilder’s big break when he starred in Brooks’ film The Producers
  • Then in 1971 he took on his most well-remembered role as Willy Wonka
  • Wilder passed away on Monday following a secret battle with Alzheimer’s

He was indisputably one of Hollywood’s great comics, a manic presence on screen who could move from laughter to tears and anger in the space of a single line.

Gene Wilder’s frizzed-out hair and vivid blue eyes, which always seemed to have a twinkle in them, also made him one of the most recognizable actors of his era.

And while he may not have enjoyed the highest critical acclaim – missing out on Oscar awards twice – he endeared himself to generations of moviegoers as a dreamer of dreams, able to imbue his roles with a touch of magic.

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Born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee in 1933, Wilder took an early interest in performing and after graduating high school (left and right), he studied theater arts at university in Iowa

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Wilder was known for his often manic performance style and charisma, both of which were on display during his most well-known performance as Willy Wonka.

 

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