Mel Brooks Was ‘Inconsolable’ After Gene Wilder’s Death

Actor Gene Wilder and Writer/Composer Mel Brooks at the curtain call for Mel Brooks New Musical
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In the new documentary, Remembering Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks opens up about his friendship with Gene Wilder and how his death greatly affected him. The pair worked together in classic films such as Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and Blazing Saddles. They formed a unique bond and it was Brooks who aimed to help Wilder with his memory when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010.

Young Frankenstein Mel Brooks Gene Wilder

Twentieth Century Fox/via MovieStillsDB

Brooks admitted, “I called him a lot thinking, ‘Maybe if I gave him enough references I could get him out of it.’ Insanity [on] my part. He was in the throes of that terrible disease. We could never talk too long after he got it. It was so sad, it made me cry a lot.” When Wilder died in 2016, Brooks added, “I was inconsolable for a couple of weeks. When he lived his life he lived it, loud and eloquently. He was an outstanding actor and also an outstanding person.”

Remembering Gene Wilder Mel Brooks, 2023

Health Point Productions/Everett Collection

He continued, “I miss his enjoying my humor. I could make him laugh where he would sometimes grab his belly, hit the ground and roll around on the ground and laugh. That’s the real payment in being a comic, and boy, he paid.” The documentary also focuses on Wilder’s marriage to his fourth wife, Karen Boyer, the woman he once called his true love.

Young Frankenstein Gene Wilder, 1974

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Boyer shared about his Alzheimer’s diagnosis and final years, “He never really accepted that he had Alzheimer’s, and maybe by the time we found out that’s what it was, his hippocampus didn’t let him remember So I’m not sure that he ever knew. When I’d see him slip away further from me, I was sick to my stomach, but I had to keep smiling and tell him that everything was okay. Gene was wonderful; he was the best husband I think anybody could ask for. To love and be loved is the best gift anybody could ask for, and we had that.”

Stay tuned to find out when Remembering Gene Wilder will be streaming. What was your favorite role of his?

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March 2021

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