“On stage or in the movies I could do whatever I wanted to. I was free.”
– Gene Wilder, March 2007
In conversation with Ms. Magazine founding editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Gene Wilder talks about Mel Brooks, his mother, and Willy Wonka.
“I was miscast in my first big part on broadway,” he says. “One night after a show, there was Mel Brooks wearing a merchant marine pea jacket. He looked striking in it. I said, ‘Hello, hello. How nice to meet you. My goodness, you look so wonderful in that pea jacket,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, they used to call them urine jackets but they didn’t sell.’”