Lakeshore News, News Around the World

Milwaukee Native Gene Wilder Dies

Wisconsin native Gene Wilder, who starred in an eclectic range of movie roles, has died. His nephew says the 83-year-old Wilder died late Sunday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut from the Alzheimer’s disease he first suffered three years ago — which he kept secret until now. He was born in Milwaukee as Jerome Silberman in 1933 and graduated from the city’s Washington High School — and he later went to the University of Iowa, served in the Army, and performed on Broadway before his first movie role as a hostage in “Bonnie and Clyde” in 1967. Wilder also starred as a nervous accountant in “The Producers,” the candy man in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and an obsessed scientist in “Young Frankenstein.” The Journal Sentinel says Wilder did want to return to Milwaukee after his father died there in 1973 — but he came back in 1991 to be inducted into the Wisconsin Performing Arts Hall of Fame.

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