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Something Wilder aired from October 1994 until June 1995 on NBC.

This gentile comedy starred Gene Wilder as Gene Bergman, a sensitive, emotional adman who rather late in life became the father of two supercute fraternal twins. And a doting dad he was. Restrained only slightly by sensible wife, Annie ( Hillary B. Smith), and crabby partner, Jack ( Gregory Itzin), whose kids were grown. The kids were 4-year-old Gabe and Sam ( Ian Bottiglieri, Carl Michael Lindner). Gene hugged , mugged, and stopped work constantly to play with the little devils, who were seemingly always underfoot. Adding to the congestion was the fact that Gene and Jack's small agency, Berkshire Hills Advertising, was adjacent to their homes in rural Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Richie ( Jake Weber) was Annie's irresponsible young brother ( who worked for Gene), Katy ( Raegan Kotz) her boy-crazy niece, and Caleb ( Cleavant Derricks) the handyman.

A Review from Variety

September 28, 1994 12:00AM PT
Something Wilder Hell No, They Won’t Go

By Tony Scott

Gene Wilder, with his gentle, persuasive manner, and Hillary B. Smith of “One Life to Live,” as his wife Annie, play through a family sitcom in which, as parents of 4-year-old twin boys, they suffer the detachment willies. The kids are off to pre-school, but the accompanying traumas don’t amount to much, considering the sitcom’s facing Dr. Quinn across the channels. Show borders on delicate.

Creators/writers Barnet Kellman and Lee Kalcheim go for the gentle as Gene and Annie try bringing the family together in their New England home.

Ad man Gene plays with the kids when they’re obstreperous; Annie hugs them so they can’t get away. But when Gene meets an unannounced renovator (Cleavant Derricks) in the bathroom, there are indications the program may have a sharper future.

It’s not great humor, but director Kellman works the moment well enough. Less amusing are scenes in which Gene and his ad agency partners talk about their children.

Mild, 1950s-type sitcom, followed by “Empty Nest,” doesn’t present much competition for ABC’s Saturday movies or for the good CBS doctor. “Something Wilder,” despite the strong pairing of Wilder and Smith, is too wispy to last.

Something Wilder Hell No, They Won't Go

(Sat. (1), 8-8:30 p.m., NBC)

Production: Filmed at Warner Bros. Studios by Barnet Kellman and Warner Bros. TV. Executive producers, Kellman, Tom Anderson, Ruth Bennett; co-executive producer, Lee Kalcheim; producers, Stan Zimmerman, Jim Berg, Frank Pace; director, Kellman; writer, Kalcheim; creators/story, Kalcheim, Kellman.

Crew: Camera, Joe Pennella; editor, Richard Schwadel; art director, Greg Richman; sound, Michael Clark; music, Mason Daring.

Cast: Cast: Gene Wilder, Hillary B. Smith, Ian Bottiglieri, Carl Michael Lindner, Jake Weber, Gregory Itzin, Raegan Kotz, Cleavant Derricks, Nancy Mette, Kate McGregor-Stewart, Tony Carlin.

A Review from the LA Times

TV Review : 'Something Wilder' Could Grow on You

Gene Wilder makes his TV series debut tonight in a pleasing, upbeat little NBC comedy that has the potential to grow creatively--and to grow on viewers.

Wilder plays Gene Bergman, and Hillary B. Smith is his wife, Annie. They're the parents of twin 4-year-old boys whose first exposure to preschool becomes the moderately amusing center of the premiere, as Annie panics about relinquishing their sons to another environment, and Gene tries to calm her.

"I am not being emotional!" she snaps at her lower-key husband. "It makes me want to scream when you say that!"

Meanwhile, Gene attempts to cope at his advertising agency, where one of his partners is his spacey brother-in-law who wants to use the image of Adolf Hitler to sell a restaurant, failing to understand why anyone would call that tasteless.

"It's very difficult to explain bad taste to someone who has it," Gene says.

That could apply, as well, to the perpetrators of most of the fall season's new comedies. Happily, "Something Wilder" rises above them.

Although the Bergman twins come under the category of gratingly cutesy sitcom kids, the premiere's streaks of gentle humor are what you remember, as well as the gifted, likable Wilder's benign paternalism, an effective counterpoint to the intensity of Smith's Annie. A nice start.

* "Something Wilder" premieres at 8 tonight on NBC (Channels 4, 36 and 39).

Here is Gene Wilder's Obituary from variety

August 29, 2016 12:22PM PT
Gene Wilder, ‘Willy Wonka’ Star and Comedic Icon, Dies at 83

Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.

His nephew said in a statement, “We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him “there’s Willy Wonka,” would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.

He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen. He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer, held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the the company of beloved ones.”

He had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989.

The comic actor, who was twice Oscar nominated, for his role in “The Producers” and for co-penning “Young Frankenstein” with Mel Brooks, usually portrayed a neurotic who veered between total hysteria and dewy-eyed tenderness. “My quiet exterior used to be a mask for hysteria,” he told Time magazine in 1970. “After seven years of analysis, it just became a habit.”

Habit or not, he got a great deal of mileage out of his persona in the 1970s for directors like Mel Brooks and Woody Allen, leading to a few less successful stints behind the camera, the best of which was “The Woman in Red,” co-starring then-wife Gilda Radner. Wilder was devastated by Radner’s death from ovarian cancer in 1989 and worked only intermittently after that. He tried his hand briefly at a sitcom in 1994, “Something Wilder,” and won an Emmy in 2003 for a guest role on “Will & Grace.”

His professional debut came in Off Broadway’s “Roots” in 1961, followed by a stint on Broadway in Graham Greene’s comedy “The Complaisant Lover,” which won him a Clarence Derwent Award as promising newcomer. His performance in the 1963 production of Brecht’s “Mother Courage” was seen by Mel Brooks, whose future wife, Anne Bancroft, was starring in the production; a friendship with Brooks would lead to some of Wilder’s most successful film work. For the time being, however, Wilder continued to work onstage, in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1963 and “Dynamite Tonight” and “The White House” the following year. He then understudied Alan Arkin and Gabriel Dell in “Luv,” eventually taking over the role.

Wilder also worked in television in 1962’s “The Sound of Hunting,” “The Interrogators,” “Windfall” and in the 1966 TV production of “Death of a Salesman” with Lee J. Cobb. He later starred in TV movies including “Thursday’s Game” and the comedy-variety special “Annie and the Hoods,” both in 1974.

In 1967 Wilder essayed his first memorable bigscreen neurotic, Eugene Grizzard, a kidnapped undertaker in Arthur Penn’s classic “Bonnie and Clyde.”

Then came “The Producers,” in which he played the hysterical Leo Bloom, an accountant lured into a money bilking scheme by a theatrical producer played by Zero Mostel. Directed and written by Brooks, the film brought Wilder an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor. With that, his film career was born.

He next starred in a dual role with Donald Sutherland in “Start the Revolution Without Me,” in which he displayed his fencing abilities. It was followed by another middling comedy, “Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx,” also in 1970.

In 1971 he stepped into the shoes of Willy Wonka, one of his most beloved and gentle characters. Based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was not an immediate hit but became a children’s favorite over the years. The same cannot be said for the 1974 Stanley Donen-directed musical version of “The Little Prince,” in which Wilder appeared as the fox. He had somewhat better luck in Woody Allen’s spoof “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex,” appearing in a hilarious segment in which he played a doctor who falls in love with a sheep named Daisy.

Full-fledged film stardom came with two other Brooks comedies, both in 1974: Western spoof “Blazing Saddles” and a wacko adaptation of Mary Shelley’s famous book entitled “Young Frankenstein,” in which Wilder portrayed the mad scientist with his signature mixture of hysteria and sweetness.

Working with Brooks spurred Wilder to write and direct his own comedies, though none reached the heights of his collaborations with Brooks. The first of these was “The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother” (1975), in which he included such Brooks regulars as Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman. It was followed by 1977’s “The World’s Greatest Lover,” which he also produced.

Wilder fared better, however, when he was working solely in front of the camera, particularly in a number of films in which he co-starred with Richard Pryor.

The first of these was 1976’s “Silver Streak,” a spoof of film thrillers set on trains; 1980’s “Stir Crazy” was an even bigger hit, grossing more than $100 million. Wilder and Pryor’s two other pairings, “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” and “Another You,” provided diminishing returns, however.

While filming “Hanky Panky” in 1982, Wilder met “Saturday Night Live” comedienne Radner. She became his third wife shortly thereafter. Wilder and Radner co-starred in his most successful directing stint, “The Woman in Red” in 1984, and then “Haunted Honeymoon.” But Radner grew ill with cancer, and he devoted himself to her care, working sporadically after that and hardly at all after her death in 1989.

In the early ’90s he appeared in his last film with Pryor and another comedy, “Funny About Love.” In addition to the failed TV series “Something Wilder” in 1994, he wrote and starred in the A&E mystery telepics “The Lady in Question” and “Murder in a Small Town” in 1999. He also appeared as the Mock Turtle in a 1999 NBC adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland.”

He last acted in a couple of episodes of “Will and Grace” in 2002-03 as Mr. Stein, winning an Emmy.

He was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee and began studying acting at the age of 12. After getting his B.A. from the U. of Iowa in 1955, Wilder enrolled in the Old Vic Theater school in Bristol, where he learned acting technique and fencing. When he returned to the U.S. he taught fencing and did other odd jobs while studying with Herbert Berghof’s HB Studio and at the Actors Studio under Lee Strasberg.

Wilder’s memoir “Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art” was published in 2005. After that he wrote fiction: the 2007 novel “My French Whore”; 2008’s “The Woman Who Wouldn’t”; a collection of stories, “What Is This Thing Called Love?,” in 2010; and the novella “Something to Remember You By: A Perilous Romance” in 2013.

Wilder was interviewed by Alec Baldwin for the one-hour TCM documentary “Role Model: Gene Wilder” in 2008. The actor was also active in raising cancer awareness in the wake of Radner’s death.

He is survived by his fourth wife Karen Boyer, whom he married in 1991 and his nephew. His sister Corinne, predeceased him in January 2016.

Before Radner, Wilder was married to the actress-playwright Mary Mercier and Mary Joan Schutz (aka Jo Ayers).

To watch some clips of Something Wilder go to

For more on Something Wilder go to

For the Jake Weber Tribute Page go to

For a Website dedicated to Cleavant Derricks go to

For an article on Something Wilder go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Sat September 9, 2006 � Filesize: 12.9kb � Dimensions: 320 x 250 �
Keywords: Something Wilder: Gene Wilder Hillary B. Smith


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