Following the release of his acclaimed memoir, Kiss Me Like a Stranger, Gene Wilder sat down for this revealing interview with playwright Wendy Wasserstein. Here, Wilder looks at the struggles behind the laughter, candidly discussing his battles with neuroses, illness, and bereavement. Indeed, Wilder the comedian and Wilder the depressive are two sides of the same coin: His earliest comedic experiments followed his mother’s heart attack, at which point a doctor told the eight-year-old Wilder, "try to make her laugh". Wilder’s discussion of his relationship with Gilda Radner, her death from ovarian cancer, and his own battle with lymphoma, take on added poignancy: Wasserstein, much more animated here than the stoically reflective Wilder, was mere months from her own untimely demise due to lymphoma.
This event took place on March 22, 2005.
Want more? Listen to titles from Gene Wilder.
Also, check out Wendy Wasserstein's Heidi Chronicles.
©2005 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association; (P)2005 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association
Being an advid fan of just about anything Gene Wilder says should potentially disqualify me as a critic with any objectivity. However, quite the contrary. Having listened to everything I possibly can actually puts me in a very good position to make comparisons and I can honestly state this conversation with Wendy Wasserstein is pure gold! Wendy's questions are the perfect catalyst to bring out the quintessential GW. His wit and style takes you through much of his life from the brilliant karma he and Richard Pryor stumbled upon in Silver Streak to the intensely wonderful love he shared with Gilda Radnor. You laugh and cry and feel good doing both. You simply do not want it to end.
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