Tonight, Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel star in the Mel Brooks-directed comedy The Producers, which airs at 9.10pm on BBC Four. 1967 movie starring the likes of Dick Sean and Kenneth Mars. It follows the story of a theater producer and his accountant, as they become involved in a scam that makes them try to come up with the worst musical stage possible. Effect. Such was the significance of the film, and Brooks won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Although it initially received mixed reviews, over time, The Producers gained cult status, and in 1996 it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry (NFR), and was ranked 11th in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years.. List of 100 laughs
The film helped cement Wilder’s star among the Hollywood elite, and was among a number of films he would be working on with Brooks, who at 96 is still considered one of Tinsel Town’s greatest writers and artists.
Arguably Wilder’s most satisfying and universal role is that of eccentric chocolate maker Willy Wonka in Roald Dahl’s 1971 fantasy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, another film selected for preservation in the US NFR.
He became so well known to children that Wilder’s tales often stood the test of time, and even after his death decades later, the Wisconsin-born actor didn’t want Wonka’s charms to fade.
Wilder died at the age of 83 in 2016 as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. The devastating news shocked his fans, as the star decided to keep his diagnosis secret.
His nephew, Jordan Walker Perelman, revealed the heartbreaking decision behind his silence over his health in a statement following Wilder’s death.
He said, “The decision to wait until this time to reveal his condition was not arrogance, but more so that the countless young children smiling or calling him ‘there’s Willy Wonka’, would no longer be at risk.” Or trouble and the joy of traveling causes anxiety, disappointment, or confusion. He simply cannot stand the thought of one less smile in the world.”
His family later noticed that the comedian had died while Ella Fitzgerald was playing Over the Rainbow, his favorite song. Brooks also discussed his devastation in Wilder’s death.
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Speaking on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, he recalled his grief over the loss of his best friend: “He was a dear friend, I was expecting he was going but when that happens, it’s still massive. It’s such a huge shock. I’m still reeling. No more gene It was such a wonderful part of my life.”
Other stars have also shared their devastation in Wilder’s death on Twitter, including the likes of Karl Rayner, Albert Brooks, Billy Crystal and Russell Crowe.
British comedian James Corden gave his own tribute on The Late Late Show, saying, “He was just such a magical person, and he made everyone around him feel such a wonderful feeling of joy.”
Before his death, Wilder spoke about retirement during a 2013 interview with Time Out New York, in which he addressed questions about whether he would ever star in a movie again.
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He said, “I’m tired of watching bombing, shootings, killings, swearing and 3D. I get 52 films a year sent to me, and there are probably three good ones. [ones].
“That’s why I went into writing. It’s not that I’m not going to act again. I was saying, ‘Give me the script.’” If it’s something cool, I’ll do it. “But I don’t get anything like that.”
The topic of his retirement continued to dominate debate in his later years, and about five years before he met actor Alec Baldwin on Time Out, he gave him an interview on the Turner Classic Movies special, Role Model: Gene Wilder.
He noted that he actually retired from acting for good, describing how he “dislikes artwork.” “I like the show, but I don’t like the work,” he added.
The Producers airs at 9.10pm on BBC Four tonight.
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