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Profile of the Day: Gene Wilder

Do you remember watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? On this day in 1933, actor Gene Wilder was born.

Profile of the Day: Gene Wilder

Image: Gene Wilder / Nationaal Archief, CC0

Wilder was born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He first gained an interest in acting after his mother was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. The doctor had told the 8-year-old Wilder that he should try to make his mother laugh. By the age of 13, he began studying acting and would go on to earn a degree in Communication and Theater Arts at the University of Iowa.

Wilder scored his first major role in Mel Brooks’s 1967 film, The Producers. Although the film was a box office dud, it would go on to become a cult comedy classic and earn Wilder an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The movie was also the beginning of his collaboration with Brooks, which also included the films Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. In 1971, he starred in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, which has become one of the most famous roles of his career.

What is your favorite Gene Wilder movie?

Explore Gene Wilder’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related to the star.

View Gene Wilder’s Geni Profile


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