Gene Wilder’s madcap roles: A magical mania

Hollywood actor Gene Wilder was terrific when he was calm and collected. But when he lost it, he was transcendent.

Often playing opposite enormous, big performers like Zero Mostel and Richard Pryor, Wilder was a straight man who often wound up in a straight jacket. His enormous range was everything in between: from a quiet sweetness to a madcap lunacy.
Wilder died Sunday in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease at age 83.
Read: Actor Gene Wilder dies at 83
With wild, Harpo-like hair, a melancholy face and a mad glint in his eye, Wilder was an earthquake of neuroses that tremored with blinks and sweat before cracking and quivering in hysteria.