Meeting Mel Brooks
Although he began on the stage, Gene Wilder became best known for his films, and especially those with Mel Brooks. Back in 1963, he was acting in Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children alongside Anne Bancroft. When Bancroft introduced Gene Wilder to her boyfriend Mel Brooks, the two instantly hit it off. Next thing he knew it, Mel Brooks wanted him for a little something called The Producers. Well, the rest is history!
You probably never knew he was an Army man! When Gene Wilder graduated from University of Iowa with a degree in Communication and Theater Arts, he got drafted into the Army. This was back in 1956 and he got assigned to the medical corps. Once he became a paramedic with the Army, he chose to serve in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Valley Forge Army Hospital, located in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. This allowed him to take classes at Herbert Berghof Studio in New York. Two years after he got discharged and went to New York to pursue acting.