Why the late, great Gene Wilder walked away from movies 25 years ago

On Monday, comedy legend Gene Wilder died at the age of 83 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. 

The actor will forever be known for starring in movies like “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Will Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” and “Young Frankenstein.” But after 1991, the two-time Oscar nominee walked away from movies.

Outside of a few TV movies and series, he began writing novels. For the most part, he completely disconnected himself from show business.

In June 2013, while promoting the release of one of his books, he talked with film historian Robert Osborne, who asked Wilder why he was then no longer in movies:

“If something comes along that’s really good and I think I would be good for it, I would be happy to do it. But not too many came along,” Wilder said. “I mean, they came along for the first 15, 18 films, but I didn’t do that many.”

Wilder only has 37 acting credits to his name from 1961 to 2015.

“But then I didn’t want to do the kind of junk that I was seeing,” Wilder said. “I didn’t want to do 3D, for instance. I didn’t want to do ones with bombing and loud and swearing, so much swearing going on. Someone said, ‘Oh, go f–k yourself.’ Well, if it was coming from a meaningful place I would understand it. But if you go to some of the movies, I don’t want to say which ones, can’t they just stop and talk? Once in a while it comes in handy but not running all the way through the film, and that put me out a lot.”    

You can watch the complete talk below:

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