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Kiss Me Like a Stranger


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Gene Wilder (1933-2016) began acting when he was thirteen and writing for the screen since the early 1970s. After a small role in Bonnie and Clyde pulled him away from a career onstage, he was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Leo Bloom in The Producers, which led to Blazing Saddles and then to another Academy nomination, this time for writing Young Frankenstein. Wilder has appeared in twenty-five feature films and a number of stage productions. His first book, about his own life, was Kiss Me Like A Stranger, and was followed by the novels My French Whore, The Woman Who Wouldn't, What Is This Thing Called Love? and Something to Remember You By.


Twice nominated for Academy Awards in acting and screenwriting, Wilder is a comedic master whose performances in Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and The Producers continue to inspire younger actors. And as someone who has worked with Mel Brooks, he can kibbitz with the best of them. In his memoir, he focuses on his work as an artist and his interpersonal relationships, namely four marriages, the most famous of which was with Gilda Radner. Confessional in the literal sense (Jewish guilt factors prominently) as well as the stylistic (much of the narrative is a conversation with his therapist), the story follows a chronological arc, with hilarious and lovely anecdotal reminiscences of such figures as Carol Channing, Zero Mostel, Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, and Arthur Penn. Wilder often concludes chapters with a daisy chain-like summation, e.g., if-Stanley-Donen-hadn't-rearranged-hi s-schedule-I-wouldn't-have-met-Madeline-Kahn, as if to say everything works out for the best. A wonderful addition to the entertainment memoir Gene pool.-Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

The man who created some of the funniest moments in film history talks about acting, adultery, neuroses and death in this intimate, unusual memoir. Wilder began acting as a teenager at summer camp and eventually earned some acclaim on Broadway but not much money-he says he was still collecting unemployment checks when he began shooting his breakout film role in Mel Brooks's original film version of The Producers (1968). The movie flopped commercially, but Wilder's comedic chops were established. A string of successes followed: Blazing Saddles; Young Frankenstein; Willy Wonka; Stir Crazy. Off camera, things were more complicated. After two troubled marriages, Wilder married Saturday Night Live's Gilda Radner-a brilliant, erratic woman who battled bulimia and wild mood swings. Wilder is unusually frank in documenting both Radner's faults and her long struggle with cancer. Honesty is a prevailing quality of this book, as Wilder freely discusses topics ranging from his own neuroses to the drug-fueled misbehavior of his great comedic partner, Richard Pryor. He also doesn't avoid telling the details of his own bout with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Wilder's fans may be disappointed to find relatively scant coverage of some of his triumphs, but Wilder clearly isn't interested in writing a conventional Hollywood memoir. His book candidly explores his own faults and feelings, as well as those of the people he's loved and lost. Photos. Agent, David Sarnoff. (Mar. 14) Forecast: Wilder's five-city tour will help market the book to fans, and a timely (if minor) hook is his voice role in the forthcoming comedy Instant Karma. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"a gracious, endearing book" --The New York Times"I always knew Gene Wilder was a remarkable person, but I didn't realize how remarkable until I read this brave, riveting book." --Charles Grodin, actor..".an honest, affecting look at his life. Strong, tender and revealing" --Kirkus"A wonderful addition to the entertainment memoir Gene pool." --Library Journal"A witty memoir. It's also a reflective and well-written meditation on the life of someone who has more on his mind than the next big part or belly laugh." --Los Angeles Times"It's impossible to not feel deep affection for Gene Wilder." --Entertainment Weekly"Come for inside dish on his funniest movies, stay for touching stories about Mel Brooks, Gilda Radner and others. A classy memoir." --Newsweek

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