Monday, August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder

Actor, director, novelist, and screenwriter; one of the funniest people who ever lived -- via Variety. AKA Jerome Silberman. One of my idols. The first time I saw him was in the 1966 restaging for TV of "Death of a Salesman" -- he  played Bernard. I can't think of a bad performance from him. He was different -- long, crazy hair yet extremely well-spoken (he studied at the Old Vic and was a champion fencer). "Bonnie and Clyde," "Willy Wonka," his films with Mel Brooks -- " "The Producers," "Blazing Saddles," and "Young Frankenstein," his unique trilogy of solo vehicles -- "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother," "The World's Greatest Lover," and "The Frisco Kid"; his string of successes with Richard Pryor -- "Silver Streak," "Stir Crazy," etc.; and his detective-film work at the end of his career, all splendid. He could go from masterful underplaying to the most extreme overacting . . . sometimes in the same sentence.