From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Readers looking for a little comic relief will be disappointed by this thoughtfully serious memoir. Like that of many comics, Wilder's private life does not reflect his zany stage and screen persona. Introspective by nature, he provides a series of vignettes that he hopes will add clarity to his personal search for the truth about his family, his loves, the choices he has made, and his quest for artistic fulfillment. Unflinching in their honesty, these snippets constitute a revealing overview of an intriguing life. Wilder's formative relationship with his sick mother, his personal and professional associations with Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks, his complex marriage to the late Gilda Radner, and his attempts to make sense of it all through intense psychotherapy make fascinating reading. Framed like individual scenes from a movie, these recollections add up to a compelling portrait of a multifaceted man. Margaret FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved