I first became with Gene Wilder's unusual acting presence as Willy Wonka, but Wilder had more to offer. In the seventies Gene hooked up with the great Mel Brooks. We American movie goers had lots of comedies to watch throughout the seventies and eighties. Amid all the laughter, Gene and Mel were giving us some real classics. At the top of my list is Young Frankenstein...or is that FRONKENSTEEN!? Just prior to Young Frankenstein, Wilder starred as The Waco Kid that was originally offered to John Wayne in Blazing Saddles. We all loved to watch anything with Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman - which includes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother.
Gene later hooked up with comedian Richard Pryor in the smash hits Silver Streak and Stir Crazy. They made a great comic duo - but the following movies with the two were not as cleverly written. It's a shame, because Wilder and Pryor were incredible together. Richard Pryor struggled with drug addiction and later suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. Their last movie together, See No Evil - Hear No Evil, was a dismal failure.
In The Frisco Kid, John Wayne was to play the role of Tommy the cowboy. John Wayne backed out of the project because he had a set amount of 1 million dollars per picture. Warner Brothers wasn't willing to pay him for the part. A young rising star Harrison Ford took the part.
Gene later married former SNL comedian Gilda Radner and made some humorous pictures together. I know the two would've given us more - if Gilda had lived.
"I'm not so funny. Gilda was funny. I'm funny on camera sometimes. In life, once in a while. Once in a while. But she was funny."