Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

Gene Wilder was a funny, funny actor, someone who could evoke laughs with seemingly little effort, combining to great effect his wide eyes, frizzy hair, and impeccable comic timing. I cannot even begin to list all the films that he made that I have enjoyed over the years and so it was with considerable sadness that I learned of his death today at the age of 83.

He starred in four films with Richard Pryor and they made a wonderful comic pairing. I loved Silver Streak, especially the scene where they are both on the run and where Wilder puts on blackface and Pryor tries to teach him how to act black. The quality of this clip is lousy but it is the only one I could find and I still find it funny.

I will also post this little gem from Blazing Saddles where he tries to explain to Cleavon Little why the townsfolk won’t accept a black sheriff.


  1. Menyambal says

    He teamed up with Harrison Ford in The Frisco Kid. It’s a buddy western comedy that wasn’t as wild as Blazing Saddles, but memorable in its own way.

    Blazing Saddles is a marvel.

  2. drken says

    He also co-wrote “Young Frankenstein” with Mel Brooks, fighting with him over including the “Putting on The Ritz” scene, with Mel Brooks later admitting Gene was right. He is also the definitive “Willy Wonka”. Other lessor known Gene Wilder movies you may want to check out: Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother, The Worlds Greatest Lover, and Start the Revolution Without Me. He will be missed.

    @Menyambal #1:

    One of the things that cement “Blazing Saddles” as a true classic is how every other comedy western gets compared to it unfavorably. “The Friscco Kid” is an unappreciated classic, especially Gene’s great “God does not make rain” bit.

  3. chigau (違う) says

    I wonder if anyone else could have managed his appearance in
    Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)

  4. says

    One of the things I admired about him most was walking away from fame when Gilda Radner became ill. He put home first, much like Rick Moranis did later.

    Many will mention his most famous movies, so I’ll mention one of his last major parts, the TV movie/miniseries “Murder in a Small Town”. It was charming and subdued, well done without the usual on-screen violence of TV mysteries.

    Originally, Richard Pryor was supposed to play the role of Bart, but in 1974 he was considered too risqué for audiences. Pryor was one of the movie’s writers.

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