We are coming to a point in time when most of our beloved heroes and celebrities of all entertainment industry are passing away and 2016 has been relentless.
Today, it was announced that Gene Wilder, known for his roles as Willy Wonka on Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, his memorable performances in Mel Brooks’ films like The Producers and Young Frankenstein, among many other films and TV shows, passed at the age of 83. But something that many don’t remember was that one time he invited rock legend Alice Cooper to work on his TV show Something Wilder back in 1995.
Cooper guest starred in the “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” episode, when Gene unexpectedly finds himself cast in a television appearance promoting Cooper’s new hit single. Cooper moving in as his neighbor was likely an attempt to heighten attention to the struggling series, which only lasted about one year in the air. Cooper remembers the time he worked with Wilder on his biography book Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock ‘n’ Roller’s Life and 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict:
One of the high points of my “acting career” was working with Gene Wilder. I was a big fan of The Producers, Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles. Gene is a funny guy and a super talented actor. I played his noisy next-door neighbor on his television show Something Wilder, which ran for a year in 1994. As part of our episode, Gene came next door to tell us to quiet down. Of course, the party was going hot and heavy. Gene ends up with Alice Cooper makeup on, passes out and wakes up the next morning and can’t get the makeup off. I had about nine pages of dialogue with Gene, back and forth. When I arrived on the set, he asked me,
“Do you know your lines?”
Of course I did. I was terrified; I knew everybody’s lines.
“Alice, all you have to do is say your lines and move anywhere on the set you want and I’ll follow you.”
Gene’s timing was impeccable. We did our scenes in one take, in front of a live audience. It was like a Broadway show. Do your line. Stop. Wait for the laugh. Move. Deliver. I’d watched so much television, acting was something I was able to mimic. I didn’t want to blow it, so I forced myself to be good.
Check the episode featuring Cooper below and remember Wilder as a diverse and funny legend he was.