Wilder was no stranger to writing, having penned several of his films and other projects. But writing became a full-time passion of his in his later years, and he wrote four acclaimed novels. His first one, “My French W@o&e,” was published in 2007 and was a hilarious spy romance that took place in 1918.
His second novel, “The Woman Who Wouldn’t,” was published a year later, in 2008. Wilder’s third novel was released in 2013, and it was a heartwarming tribute to loved ones called “Something to Remember You By: A Perilous Romance.” His last work was published in 2017, a lovely tale called “Even Dogs Learn How to Swim.”
Wilder's Fourth Wife
When Wilder was getting into character and preparing to portray a deaf patient in “See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” he received lip-reading coaching sessions at the New York League for the Hard of Hearing. His coach was the clinical supervisor of the center, Karen Webb. He had no idea at the time, but Webb was about to become a very important person in his life in just two short years.
After Gilda Radner passed away, Wilder and Karen began speaking again and slowly developed an intimate friendship that evolved into a romantic relationship. They tied the knot in September 1991.
Wilder Struggled With Cancer
After losing both his mother and his wife Gilda Radner to cancer, Wilder found himself facing a similar diagnosis, this time, himself being the patient. In 1999, years after he’d left showbusiness, Wilder was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was hospitalized for treatment. He and his wife Karen kept the situation under wraps as best as they could.
After five years of invasive treatments and, ultimately, a stem cell transplant, Wilder gave a public statement confirming his cancer was in total remission. Wilder dedicated his time to watercolor painting, aiding charity organizations, and writing novels. In 2005, he released a very personal memoir titled “Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art.”
He Truly Hated Showbusiness
No one can enter show business without passion for their craft. You have to be incredibly devoted to your form of art in order to wade through the big executives and the money they're trying to make. In an interview in 2008, as part of a special segment of Turner Classic Movies, Gene Wilder was interviewed by actor Alec Baldwin. When he was asked about his illustrious career, Wilder admitted that he never liked showbusiness.
“I like show, but I don’t like the business,” said Wilder during the interview. He went on to say that as the years passed, he realized production studios weren’t interested in creative input or quality content. Maybe he was onto something.
Wilder Received 52 Scripts a Year
Many fans wondered why Wilder never returned to the screen, and as it turns out, he finally explained it in a 2013 interview. Wilder was interviewed by “Time Out New York,” and they asked point blank if he would ever consider acting again if the project was something he liked.
Wilder, apparently didn't like any of the offers he was getting, despite getting dozens of them. In his words, “I get 52 scripts a year, and I don’t like any of them”. He continued to say, “I’m tired of watching the bombing, shooting, killing, swearing, and 3D.” We can’t say we don’t agree.