Gene Wilder Dead at 83


Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein (1974)

Not the sort of thing I normally write about here, but Wilder was an incredible comic talent. I became most aware of Wilder through two films, Blazing Saddles (1974) and Young Frankenstein (1974), both directed by Mel Brooks. I suppose the latter film somewhat justifies me posting my thoughts about Wilder here since it was adapted from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.

Oddly enough, of all the film adaptations of Shelley’s novel over the years (decades), Brooks’ depiction is the most faithful to the book in terms of plot (Okay, loosely faithful).

I love trivia, so I’ll share some. The lab equipment seen in “Young Frankenstein” was the same equipment in the 1931 film directed by James Whale, who also directed The Invisible Man (1933) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Of course, none of that has to do with Wilder.

I realize that everybody and their pet snake Reggie will be blogging and otherwise bombarding social media about Wilder’s death for the next few days to a week, so my one small voice adds little.

Still, he’s responsible for making me laugh, which is increasingly necessary in this rather grim world we live in, so I’m grateful. I own both “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein” as DVDs, so I may need to devote some time to watching them again.

Thanks for a life devoted to making people laugh, Gene. You’re the best.

You can read a more proper obituary at Variety.