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My Best Memory Of Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder - Getty Images
Gene Wilder – Getty Images

Sadly, the world lost a great one yesterday with the death of actor Gene Wilder.

He was 83 and according to a statement released to media, his death was related to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease.

While many of our younger audience members may not know his work, the majority of those that do will remember his wonderful performance as Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory… a movie that remains a classic to this day.

Everybody has their favorite Gene Wilder movie.  Maybe it was Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein.

For me, it was See No Evil, Hear No Evil.

I saw it in the movie theater with my dad and buddy Aaron back in 1989 when it first hit theaters.  I wasn’t 17 and it was rare that my parents would let me watch an R-rated movie.

Gene Wilder played a deaf man and Richard Pryor played a blind man.  Filled with raunchy language and huge laughs… it was a great movie.

In one scene a lady (and hired killer) is reaching out of the shower to grab something.  There’s soap in her eyes and she reaches out to get something from her bag.  Gene Wilder is sneaking around looking for something and in the hopes of not being discovered he pushes the bag closer so she can reach it.

Why do I remember this so well?  Was it because Gene was such a talented actor?  Not his time.  Was it because I could see a half-naked lady (and I was 14)?  Nope.

When the actress opens the shower door, my father proceeded to put his hand over my eyes so I wouldn’t see a naked lady.  Yep, right in front of my friend… he covered my face.  How embarrassing, right?

So yeah, it a kind of roundabout way… that’s my best memory of Gene Wilder.

~CMF

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