Collection Dates: 1961? -- 2000
(Bulk Dates: 1970s)
3.75 linear ft.

MsC 526

This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries

Posted to Internet: 2001
Addenda: 2001-2003

Acquisition Note: The present collection is the joint gift of Mr. Wilder and his brother-in-law, Gilbert Pearlman, and was accessioned in 2001. Additional material was contributed by Sharon R. Fox in July and December 2001 and March 2003.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Photographs: Boxes 7 and 8

Audio Material: Audiocasette Box 8

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement

Biographical Note

Born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 11, 1933, Gene Wilder is the son of William J. and Jeanne (Baer) Silberman. He adopted "Gene Wilder" for his professional name at the age of 26, because, "I had always liked Gene because of Thomas Wolfe's character Eugene Gant in Look Homeward, Angel, and Of Time and the River. And I was always a great admirer of Thornton Wilder."

He briefly attended the Black-Foxe Military Institute in Los Angeles, then completed high school in Milwaukee in 1951. A student of acting from the age of twelve, he attended the University of Iowa, took part in student dramatic productions, played in summer stock during vacations, and obtained his B.A. degree in 1955, then enrolled in the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England, where he studied judo, fencing, gymnastics, and voice.

Wilder's 1961 off-Broadway New York debut was in Arnold Wesker's Roots. In his first Broadway appearance, November 1961, he played in Graham Greene's comedy The Complaisant Lover, winning the Clarence Derwent Award.

Wilder went to Hollywood in the late 1960's to perform first in Bonnie and Clyde, then in The Producers, and later in Young Frankenstein (1974), which he co-wrote, and in The World's Greatest Lover (1975), of which he was star, writer, director, and producer. Other films included Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Paramount, 1971), Stanley Donen's The Little Prince (Paramount, 1974), Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask (United Artists, 1972), and Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles (Warner Brothers, 1974). He directed his own script, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1975) and played the lead in Silver Streak (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1976). More recent films include The Frisco Kid (1979) , Stir Crazy (1980), The Woman in Red (1984), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991).

Wilder has also taken on numerous television roles including three NBC's Dupont Show of the Week presentations during 1962. He appeared as the Head Waiter in "Reunion with Death" on The Defenders (CBS, 1962), Yonkel in "Home for Passover" on Eternal Light (NBC, 1966), and Bernard in Death of a Salesman (CBS, 1966). Recent appearances have included a series "Something Wilder" (1994), Murder in a Small Town (1999), Alice in Wonderland (1999), and The Lady in Question (1999)

Scope and Contents Note

Following donor notes, the collection has been organized in six series. The first five (Boxes 1-7) were the gift of Mr. Wilder and his brother-in-law Gil Pearlman:
I. Scripts - produced (written or co-written by and strarring Gene Wilder).
II. Scripts - produced (starring, but not written by, Gene Wilder)
III. Scripts -- unproduced (written or co-written by Gene Wilder)
IV. Correspondence and Documents
V. Photographs and Clipped Images of Gene Wilder

The sixth series (Box 8) consists of publicity and fan club materials gathered and given to the collection by Ms. Sharon R. Fox of Chicago. Folders within each box are numbered.

Box List

Box 1, Series I: Scripts - produced (written or co-written by and starring Gene Wilder)

Folder 1. Young Frankenstein (4th draft, 2/7/74)

2. The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (draft of 2/75)

3. The World's Greatest Lover (final draft 1/3/77)

4. Skippy (aka "Sunday Lovers") (2nd draft of 10/8/79)

5. The Woman In Red (draft of 1/7/83 titled "My First Affair")

6. ---- (draft of 1/28/83 titled "Boys Will Be Boys")

7. ---- (combined continuity 7/10/84)

8. See No Evil, Hear No Evil (shooting script by Gene Wilder)

Box 2

1. ---- (shooting script by Gene Wilder)

2. ---- (draft 8/25/88 and with revises through 11/18/88)

3. ---- (screenplay by Arne Sultan & Earl Barret and Andrew Kurtzman & Eliot Wald)

4. Haunted Honeymoon (draft of 6/20/85)

5. Murder In A Small Town [Television] 1st draft 1/1998

6. ---- 1st revision - 3/4/1998

7. ---- 2nd revision - 3/26/1998

8. ---- 3rd revision (final) - 4/23/1998

9. The Lady In Question [Television] - 2nd revision -- 2/11/1999. Under original title, "Why Kill The Old Lady?"

Box 3

1. ---- 2/11/1999. Under original title, "Why Kill The Old Lady?"

2. ---- Final draft - 3/14/1999


Series II: Scripts - produced (starring, but not written by, Gene Wilder)

3. Stir Crazy (draft of 1/18/80; earlier title "Prison Rodeo")

4. "New York Times" (early title of Funny About Love, with Gene Wilder Notes, dated 1989-90)

5. ---- (2nd copy with revises spanning 11/89-1/90)

6. Another You (with Gene Wilder Notes - shooting draft, 9/17/90)


Series III: Scripts -- unproduced (written or co-written by Gene Wilder)

7. Dying For A Laugh 1st draft -- November 5th 1999. Under original title, "A Barrel of Money"

8. ---- 2nd draft - January 20th 2000

Box 4

1. Hesitation Waltz

2. Tough Guy

3. Kissing (drafts of 12/31/82, with "new structures" 1/20/83)

4. --- (marked "work copy" 1/20/83)

5. The Naked Lady (2nd draft - 2 copies, 1 marked; 4/1/80)

Box 5

1. All Day Suckers (aka "Double Whoopee" draft of 3/15/83)

2. Double Whoopee (draft of 12/7/87)


Series IV. Correspondence and Documents

Gene Wilder - Gilbert Pearlman correspondence on:

3. Murder In A Small Town

4. The Lady In Question (original title "Why Kill the Old Lady?")

5. Dying For A Laugh (original title "A Barrel of Money")

6. Another You - notes

7. Double Whoopee - notes; treatment; contract; correspondence

8. Frisco Kid (aka "No Knife") - notes; correspondence

9. Funny About Love (aka "New York Times") - contract with Duffy Films; memorandum of agreement

Box 6

1. Grand Pere Legal Correspondence (film not made)

2. Hanky Panky Columbia Pictures Agreement

3. Haunted Honeymoon publicity packet

4. Henry Orlow" concept for a screenplay

5. Hold The Baby original-idea outline (3 pages)

6. Young Frankenstein contract with 20th-Century Fox (with Jouer)

7.1981 Agreements between Pal Mel and The Ladd Company

8. See No Evil, Hear No Evil notes

9. Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother notes, contracts

10. ---- novelization agreement

11. ---- order shots, story boards

12. Skippy (aka "Sunday Lovers") correspondence; notes

Box 7

1. Stir Crazy correspondence; contract

2. The Woman In Red correspondence; contracts; schedule

3. Boys Will Be Boys correspondence; contracts

4. The World's Greatest Lover budget; shooting schedules

5. The Naked Lady correspondence

6. Silver Streak contracts


Series V. Photographs and Clipped Images of Gene Wilder

7. Stage:

---- with Carol Channing in G.B. Shaw's The Millionaires (clipped from Life Magazine)

---- with Marsh Hunt and Ann Revere in James Agee's A Death in the Family

---- with Walter Pidgeon in Graham Greene's The Complaisant Lover

With Walter Pidgeon in Graham Greene's The Complaisant Lover (1961)

Films: The Conservation Lab was unable in 4/2001 to remove the two images adhered to glass without damage to the photographic emulsion. Handle Box 7 with care!

8. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (3)

----. Blazing Saddles (image is adhered to glass; in folder 9)

---. Bonnie and Clyde (2 clipped images)

----. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex

----. The Frisco Kid (2; one with Robert Aldrich)

----. The Little Prince

----. The Producers

----. Silver Streak (2: with Richard Pryor; with Jill Clayburgh)

----. Start the Revolution Without Me (on set; with Donald Sutherland)

----. Stir Crazy (with Richard Pryor)

----. The World's Greatest Lover (with Sandra Roveta)

----. Young Frankenstein (2; cover of Action (Directors Guild of America: January-February1975); with Terri Garr (image is adhered to glass; in folder 9)

----. Gene Wilder with Prince Charles in a crowd on street (in New York City?)

9. Two images adhered to glass. Handle with care!


Box 8

Series VI: Sharon Fox - Gene Wilder Materials Received 7/24/2001, 12/7/2001 & 3/14/2003:

1.Studio portrait and candid photographs of Gene Wilder; other printed portraits and drawings.

2. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother. 8 production stills.

3. Blazing Saddles. Cast and credit sheets.

4. Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx. 3 production stills.

5. Silver Streak. Production still; clippings; Geneology (Summer 1977), the Gene Wilder Fan Club Journal.

6. ---- . T-shirt for publicity purposes.

7. Two Times Two. 2 production stills.

8. The World's Greatest Lover. 3 production stills; candid of Gene Wilder with Sharon Fox; clippings; Geneology (Fall 1977) with photograph of Gene Wilder and Sharon Fox; Geneology (Spring 1978); videotape in beta format; lobby card.

9. ---- Press kit (with several production stills)

10. Clipped articles; Gene Wilder Fan Club ephemera.

11. A Touch of Madness, poetry by Judith Nathanson, drawings by Christine Gardener.

12. Cassette recording labeled "Gene at Sher[man] Oaks Coll[ege]", return address of the Gene Wilder Fan Club; transcription of an interview with Gene Wilder, undated photocopy; approximately 23 letters and postcards from Judith Nathanson on Gene Wilder Fan Club letterheads, 1976-1978

13. ---- Additional letters and postcards from Nathanson.

14. Lunch Hour. Ethel Barrymore Theatre Playbill for this play starring Gilda Radner and Sam Waterston, directed by Mike Nichols; Gilda Radner Live from New York. Winter Garden Theatre Playbill; Chicago Tribune TV Week, April 28, 2002, with cover story on ABC production Gilda Radner.


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