In this personal book from the star of many beloved and classic film comedies -- from The Producers to Young Frankenstein, Blazing saddles to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- Gene Wilder writes about a side of his life the public hasn't seen on the screen. Kiss Me Like a Stranger is not an autobiography in the usual sense of the word, and it's certainly not another celebrity "tell-all." Instead, Wilder has chosen to write about resonant moments in his life, events that led him to an understanding of the art of acting, and -- more important -- to an understanding of how to give love to and receive love from a woman.
Wilder writes compellingly about the creative process on stage and screen, and divulges moments from life on the sets of some of the most iconic movies of our time.
In this book, he talks about everything from his experiences in psychoanalysis to why he got into acting and later comedy (his first goal was to be a Shakespearean actor), and how a Midwestern childhood with a sick mother changed him. Wilder explains why he became an actor and writer, and about the funny, wonderful movies he made with Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, and Harrison Ford, among many others. He candidly reveals his failures in love, and writes about the overwhelming experience of marrying comedienne Gilda Radner, as well as what finally had to happen for him to make a true and lasting commitment to another woman.
A thoughtful, revealing, and winsome book about life, love, and the creative process, the New York Times bestseller Kiss Me Like A Stranger is one actor's life in his own words.
The man who created some of the funniest moments in film history talks about acting, adultery, neuroses and death in this intimate, unusual memoir. Wilder began acting as a teenager at summer camp and eventually earned some acclaim on Broadway but not much money he says he was still collecting unemployment checks when he began shooting his breakout film role in Mel Brooks's original film version of The Producers (1968). The movie flopped commercially, but Wilder's comedic chops were established. A string of successes followed: Blazing Saddles; Young Frankenstein; Willy Wonka; Stir Crazy. Off camera, things were more complicated. After two troubled marriages, Wilder married Saturday Night Live's Gilda Radner a brilliant, erratic woman who battled bulimia and wild mood swings. Wilder is unusually frank in documenting both Radner's faults and her long struggle with cancer. Honesty is a prevailing quality of this book, as Wilder freely discusses topics ranging from his own neuroses to the drug-fueled misbehavior of his great comedic partner, Richard Pryor. He also doesn't avoid telling the details of his own bout with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Wilder's fans may be disappointed to find relatively scant coverage of some of his triumphs, but Wilder clearly isn't interested in writing a conventional Hollywood memoir. His book candidly explores his own faults and feelings, as well as those of the people he's loved and lost. Photos. hook is his voice role in the forthcoming comedy Instant Karma.
Customer ReviewsSee All
So good I read it in one sitting!
Loved this book. Of course, I'm partial to anything by Gene Wilder. Every one of his movies, is my favorite.
What I took away from this book is that it's never too late to meet the love of your life.
I know that it's true, because it happened to me!
I hate biographies. And I especially hate AUTObiographies. But this book truly transcends the medium. Wilder doesn't brag about his accomplishments. He doesn't clean up or censor the less-than-flattering moments. He tells it like it was, warts and all, giving us a rare glimpse of a man who has had as many doubts, as many insecurities, as many failures as the rest of us, balanced with deliciously amusing stories of behind scenes with Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, and Gilda, among others. To get such an unabridged look at the battered and wounded psyche of a brilliantly funny man, a genuine sad clown, is unexpectedly refreshing. I hate biographies. But I've read this one over and over again.