Monday, March 28, 2005

Gene Wilder: It Hurts to Laugh

...Wilder is a man of few punch lines. There's hardly a yuk in "Kiss Me," and throughout a 45-minute interview, he says nothing intended to amuse. This doesn't surprise his friends, who describe Wilder as thoughtful, warm and the least shticky of funny men. But the full extent of his mental and emotional struggles is news even to people who have known him for decades.

"I had dinner with him in 1987, right after my own book came out," says actor Charles Grodin, who met Wilder in the 1950s and is a pal to this day. "And he told me at the time that he wished my book had gone deeper. I was slightly irritated. I said, 'That's as deep as I get.' Now that his book is out, I see what he means."


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