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Comedy Legend Gene Wilder Dies at 83
Actor, comedian, writer, producer and director Gene Wilder, who is remembered for a rash of theatrical comedies including “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “Stir Crazy” and, of course, “Young Frankenstein,” died at his home yesterday in Stamford, Connecticut. He was 83.
Born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Wilder got his first break playing a small role in the off-Broadway production of Arnold Wesker’s “Roots” in 1961. In that same year, he won the Clement Derwent Award for “The Complaisant Lover,” and made other appearances on the stage in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “The White House” and “Mother Courage and Her Children,” where he met Anne Bancroft, who was dating Mel Brooks at the time. Wilder ultimately became part of Brook’s stock company, which resulted in Oscar nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor for “The Producers” in 1969 and for Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted from Other Material for “Young Frankenstein” in 1975.
Wilder’s TV appearances included “The Sound of Hunting,” “The Interrogators,” “Windfall” and the 1966 TV production of “Death of a Salesman” with Lee J. Cobb. He later starred in TV movies including “Thursday’s Game” and the comedy-variety special “Annie and the Hoods,” both in 1974, and headlined NBC comedy “Something Wilder” in the 1994-95 season. In 1967, he had a small role in “Bonnie and Clyde” opposite Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
Wilder also appeared opposite Richard Pryor in in comedies “Silver Streak,” “See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” “Another You,” “Funny About Love” and aforementioned “Stir Crazy.” While filming “Hanky Panky” in 1982, another big screen chuckler, Wilder met “Saturday Night Live” comedienne Radner. She became his third wife shortly thereafter, and they co-starred together in “The Woman in Red,” which he also directed, and “Honeymoon Hotel.” Wilder ultimately devoted himself to the care of Radner who succumbed to cancer in 1989.
Wilder’s final on-screen appearances were two episodes of NBC sitcom “Will & Grace,” which resulted in an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 2003.
Wilder’s memoir “Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art” was published in 2005. After that he wrote 2007 novel “My French Whore;” “The Woman Who Wouldn’t” in 2008; “What Is This Thing Called Love?” in 2010; and the novella “Something to Remember You By: A Perilous Romance” in 2013.
He is survived by his fourth wife Karen Boyer, whom he married in 1991 and his nephew. His sister Corinne, predeceased him in January 2016.
ABC Announces Next Roster of Celebrities Competing on “Dancing With the Stars”
ABC has unveiled the next set of celebrities competing on “Dancing With the Stars,” which opens its upcoming 23rd edition on Monday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET. And they are: Disney star Jake T. Austin (paired with Jenna Johnson), singer-songwriter Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (Allison Holker), actress Marilu Henner (Derek Hough), 16-year Olympic star Laurie Hernandez (Valenin Chmerkovskiy), race car driver James Hinchcliffe (Sharna Burgess), rapper Vanilla Ice (Whitney Carson), reality star Terra Jole (Sasha Farber), NFL great Calvin Johnson (Lindsay Arnold), country singer Jana Kramer (Gleb Savchenko), disgraced Olympian Ryan Lochte (Cheryl Burke), “Brady Bunch” star Maureen McCormick (Artem Chigvintsev), former Texas Governor Rick Perry (Emma Slater) and model and actress Amber Rose (Maksim Chmerkovskiy).
Miranda Lambert to be Honored at the “ACM Honors”
Singer Miranda Lambert will receive the inaugural ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award at the 10th Annual ACM Honors, which makes its television debut on Friday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET. Approved by the ACM Special Awards Panel and voted on by the ACM Board, this new award honors uncompromising artists in the spirit of Merle Haggard, while acknowledging a man who has figured prominently in ACM history.
“The ACM Honors” is an evening dedicated to celebrating the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards and will feature performances by Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Cam, Toby Keith, Alicia Keys, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Blake Shelton, Cole Swindell, Keith Urban, Chris Young, Dan + Shay, The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum. The ACM Honors will tape on Tuesday, August 30, at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.
The CW Unveils Fall 2016 Key Art
The CW has unveiled the key art designs for its new fall scripted series “Frequency,” “No Tomorrow” and “Supergirl.” For a glance, click here
Phylicia Rashad has been cast in the third season of Fox’s “Empire” as Diana Dubois, a powerhouse from one of New York’s oldest and most prominent African-American families, and the on-screen mother of Taye Diggs, who will portray an ambitious city councilman, Angelo Dubois. “Empire” opens season three on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET.
David Berry (“A Place to Call Home”) will play the role of “Lord John Grey” in the upcoming third season Starz drama “Outlander.” The series is adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books by Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). The new season picks up right after Claire travels through the stones to return to her life in 1948.