On This Day in Jewish History: June 11th, 1933

Legendary actor, writer, and director Gene Wilder is born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Born Jerome Silberman, Wilder attended the University of Iowa followed by the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England. Wilder would go on to have great success both onstage and on-screen.



His first major film role in “The Producers” earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. “The Producers” came to be the first of many collaborations with the great Mel Brooks which included such films as “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein”, the latter of which Wilder co-wrote earning both of them an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Wilder’s most iconic role as Willy Wonka in the film adaptation of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is how he will best be remembered. . .

A self described “Jewish-Buddhist-Atheist” Wilder is said to have always taken pride in his Jewish heritage. In many of his most famous films, whether it be “Young Frankenstein” (“No, it’s pronounced Fronkensteen!” see link in bio ) “The Producers” or “The Frisco Kid” — Wilder displayed his cultural Jewish identity through his art. . .

On August 29th, 2016, Gene Wilder passed away at the age of 83 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.


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