Wednesday, June 11, 2008
One of the funniest men in the world, and I think one of the most talented actors, turns 75 today. That’s right, the always extraordinary Gene Wilder came into this world on June 11th 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Gene’s been one of my most cherished actors since I was a kid and while I have already professed my major admiration for Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx here and here, I haven’t given enough love to many other favorites he appeared in including his scene stealing turn in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), his fall down funny portrait of a man obsessed with a sheep in Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask) (1972), his unbeatable pairings with Richard Pryor and of course his legendary collaborations with Mel Brooks. I’m also fond of his collaborations with his late wife, the wonderful Gilda Radner, even though the movies they appeared in together were typically not as good as they were.
Gene has been through a lot personally and yet he still keeps swinging, making him as inspiring in his personal life as he was on the screen. Now a successful author, Gene has just published his newest novel (The Woman Who Wouldn’t) to mostly positive reviews and he is currently touring to promote it.
So to celebrate Gene’s 75th birthday pop in a couple of his key films. I think I am going to do a double feature of Silver Streak (1976) and Stir Crazy (1980) as these were two films that I grew up with and never tire of revisiting. Happy Birthday to Gene Wilder, a really special actor, artist, director, writer and most importantly human being.