Gene Wilder, who turns 80 today, refuses to somersault into the 21st century. Fitting for a man whose stage name was inspired by the works of long-ago novelists Thomas Wolfe and Thornton Wilder.
What appears to be Wilder’s official Twitter is delightfully stalled at the Jan. 2, 2013 mark. Last Thursday, the actor was absent from the AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony at the Dolby Theatre honoring Mel Brooks, delivering instead a brief video message. And it’s hard to imagine a Hollywood star memoir being further from the boiler-plate norm than Wilder’s 2006 tome Kiss Me Like A Stranger.
Wilder has gone on to author three novels and a collection of short stories. His latest, Something to Remember You By: A Perilous Romance, is set during World War II and tells the tale of an American corporal chasing across Europe after a mysterious Danish woman.
Far from Hollywood, Wilder happily and quietly continues to live a life of pure imagination in Connecticut, where he is no doubt already thinking about his next work of literary fiction. He departed the film-TV scene in style in 2003, winning a Primetime Emmy Award for his work on Will & Grace. Happy Birthday, Mr. Wilder!
Photo of Wilder at 2007 The Grove LA book signing: s_bukley/Shutterstock.com