Retired American stage and screen actor, comedian, director, screenwriter, author and activist Gene Wilder (born Jerome Silberman) was born on this day, June 11, 1933.
Wilder began his career on stage, and made his screen debut in the TV-series Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1962. Although his first film role was portraying a hostage in the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde, Wilder’s first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Wilder is known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991). Wilder has directed and written several of his films, including The Woman in Red (1984).
His third wife was actress Gilda Radner, with whom he starred in three films. Her death from ovarian cancer led to his active involvement in promoting cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda’s Club.
1900 – Lawrence (Edmund) Spivak (producer: Washington Exclusive, TV host: Meet the Press, The Big Issue; magazine publisher: F&SF (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction); died Mar 9, 1994)
1919 – Richard Todd (Richard Andrew Palethorpe-Todd) (actor: The Hasty Heart, The Longest Day, The Big Sleep, House of the Long Shadows, Never Let Go)
(Jerome Silberman) (actor: Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Producers, The Woman in Red, Silver Streak, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Murder in a Small Town, The Lady in Question)
1936 – Chad Everett (Raymon Cramton) (actor: Medical Center, The Dakotas, The Singing Nun, The Jigsaw Murders, Airplane 2: The Sequel, McKenna)
1945 – Adrienne Barbeau (actress: Swamp Thing, Maude, Cannonball Run, Silk Degrees, Double-Crossed, Two Evil Eyes)
1965 – Pamela Gidley (actress: C.S.I., The Pretender, Angel Street, Freefall, Jane Austen’s Mafia!)
1978 – Joshua Jackson (actor: Dawson’s Creek, The Mighty Ducks series, On the Edge of Innocence)