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Gene Wilder at 80
July 9, 2013 10:52 PM   Subscribe

Gene Wilder sat down with Robert Osborne at 92Y on June 12 for a rare public appearance. He spoke about the Willy Wonka remake, working with Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks, Gilda Radner, Young Frankenstein, and more. SLYT
posted by ColdChef (32 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great interview but he shouldn't be that old, I don't approve of that. :(
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:55 PM on July 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


What a sweet human.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 11:00 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Grab a hankie when he gets to the part about Gilda. Crushing.
posted by ColdChef at 11:12 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do we have a rule about celebrity headlines, like.. with ages. Just... You know. Something that doesn't give us a heart attack of a false-scare? Because i swear every few months I think "No way!" Then I realize said subject is not in fact dead and the post is about something completely different.
posted by symbioid at 11:17 PM on July 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


The young may, but the old must. Sorry for the scare.
posted by ColdChef at 11:19 PM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I haven't watched it but maybe he's gotten better about Gilda as he's gotten older because I kind of remember him being a total DICK about Gilda/how he dealt with their relationship in his book. (Am I misremembering that?) I got the book specifically because I liked the guy and remember coming away from the book not liking him much.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:22 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Was referring to his autobiography. Missed the edit window to add that info.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:28 PM on July 9, 2013


Gilda was his third wife, so he wasn't good at relationships. And their marriage was a tough one. When they met, she was married to G.E. Smith of SNL. She divorced Smith and married Wilder, but a series of miscarriages and her battles with cancer weighed heavily on them. Gene Wilder has admitted that he wasn't the best person to be married to, but there's no doubt that there was a lot of love between them. A large part of him died with her, I think.
posted by ColdChef at 11:28 PM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was at that talk! It was a bit odd at one point, because he started retelling an anecdote he'd already told, word for word. He also said he doesn't want to act anymore because movies have gotten too filthy ("you stupid son-of-a-bitch dumb bastard!") and, when asked by an audience member if he'd come on their podcast, he asked "what the hell is a podcast?"

He spoke briefly but very sweetly about Gilda Radner. His current wife was in the audience so I assume he didn't want to spend a ton of time delving into past relationships...
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:33 PM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow.

80.

Not good.
posted by Samizdata at 11:59 PM on July 9, 2013


Yeah, here he comes across as sweet about it. I remember him talking in the book about not being the best at marriage but I also remember some kind of hateful stuff. Maybe there just wasn't enough time/distance between the events when he wrote it or maybe it just comes across different when heard out loud than when read. Still really enjoy the guy's work.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:00 AM on July 10, 2013


I love Robert Osborne so much.
posted by edeezy at 12:20 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's still alive though!
posted by JHarris at 12:25 AM on July 10, 2013


Yeah, getting old sure beats the alternative.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:54 AM on July 10, 2013


Personally, I'm not feeling that.
the getting old thing.
Pulls trousers up to chest.
posted by qinn at 2:04 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was very honest. Not always easy, but honest.
posted by mosk at 2:15 AM on July 10, 2013


My pal Jenny studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School at the same time as Gene Wilder. She always says how quiet he was!
Great post, ColdChef -- thanks!
posted by On the Corner at 2:55 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Surprisingly depressing. :(
posted by fairmettle at 3:41 AM on July 10, 2013


Thanks for the post, a fascinating interview.
posted by HuronBob at 3:45 AM on July 10, 2013


Awwww, You guys are the best! you're welcome!
posted by Wilder at 4:37 AM on July 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


After he walked on stage a little stiffly I was half expecting him to throw in a somersault.
posted by rongorongo at 5:17 AM on July 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


Great post, albeit a tad, well, jarring.

Two things. First, I have always believed that the only person who should have been cast as Willie Wonka was Joel Grey. Gene Wilder was wrong on many levels. Just too damned dark, and in the wrong ways. I say this as someone who has loved "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" like no other book, and who felt that nobody could top Wilder's turn in "The Producers."

Second, Gene Wilder is a remarkably talented visual artist; his watercolors show great sensitivity and insight. If you haven't seen his work, try to find some.

Thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:22 AM on July 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I take great personal delight in referring to Robert Osborne as "Rosborne." Of course, then I had to start calling Ben Mankiewicz "Bankiewicz."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:47 AM on July 10, 2013


If you're over eighty, you can waltz a little while...
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:09 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I gotta write to this guy while I have the chance.
posted by windykites at 6:57 AM on July 10, 2013


Is it actually him who played congas on Talking Heads' "Fear of Music"? All these years I've wondered and there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer online.
posted by davebush at 6:58 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Old age; it's the only disease you don't look forward to being cured of." Mr. Bernstein, Citizen Kane

Thanks for posting this, I love Wilder.
posted by dbiedny at 7:13 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Great video. Haven't seen him in ages. :)

I've listened to the audio book of his autobiography a lot. I thought it was good that he was honest about his relationship with Gilda. Love stories aren't always full of sunshine and happiness.

I should check out his novels.
posted by luckynerd at 10:15 AM on July 10, 2013


He also said he doesn't want to act anymore because movies have gotten too filthy ("you stupid son-of-a-bitch dumb bastard!") and, when asked by an audience member if he'd come on their podcast, he asked "what the hell is a podcast?"

Which turned out to be the funniest part of the video (and the filthiest BTW, especially the way Gene emphasized the question when he asked Robert Osbourne what she said, and then the way Osbourne handled it) - - that was the best laugh I've had all week!.
posted by fairmettle at 11:51 AM on July 10, 2013


I loved him right up until they asked him the leading questions about how he felt about the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A bunch of crotchety, get-off-my-lawn vitriole came spewing out, and I thought, "No class, man."

IIRC, he hadn't seen the movie yet.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:27 PM on July 10, 2013


The real bastardization of a great Gene Wilder-vehicle was the idiotic remake of The Producers.
posted by samuelcramer at 12:40 AM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The documentary he narrated about the Chicago World's Fair, "Expo: Magic of the White City," is amazing; even if it were terrible, you should sit through it for the inflection of his delivery of "Sir Prune."

...and 80 would look a lot better on him if he did something different with his hair.
posted by mimi at 12:40 PM on July 11, 2013


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