Gene Wilder in scene from the film 'Another You', 1991. (Photo by TriStar/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
A Very Serious Childhood Moment Sent Gene Wilder Down the Path of Comedy
Gene Wilder could sell any joke on the page, due to the intentional seriousness with which he took each role that elevated the material. The actor explained, in a 2006 interview, "The more real you are in a comedy, the funnier the comedy is. So, that's what I devoted my career to."
His desire to do comedy came from when his mother had a severe heart attack when he was 8-years-old. In the same interview, he said, "The doctor took me aside and dropped his sweaty face against my cheek and he said, 'Don't ever get angry with your mother because you might kill her.' ... And the second thing he said was, 'Try to make her laugh.'"
He went on to say, "It was an unusual thing for him to say, I thought, at the time. But, from that point on, I consciously tried to make another person laugh, and I succeeded." Nearly losing a parent at 8-years-old would traumatize anyone, but the lesson the doctor imparted was one that Wilder would carry with him
for the rest of his life.