When studying in the reputed HB Studio in New York, Wilder met fellow acting student Mary Mercier. They dated for a few months and got married in the summer of 1960, and even though the marriage lasted five years, they spent long stretches of that time apart due to Wilder’s work and army duties.
Soon after divorcing, Wilder met Mary Schutz, a friend of his sister, and they fell for each other. They got married in 1967 and were together for seven years. His third wife was comedian Gilda Radner, whom he married in 1984, and the fourth was Karen Webb, who stayed with him until his 2016 passing.
Wilder Came Up with the Most Iconic Bit in “Young Frankenstein”
No one will ever be able to forget the iconic “Puttin’ on the Ritz” bit in Wilder’s film “Young Frankenstein.” That scene where he and Frankenstein are tapping and dancing in suits and top hats while singing is simply incredible. But few people know that this bit was entirely Wilder’s idea, and Mel Brooks wasn’t too keen on it.
Wilder was adamant about including the bit, and Brooks had no desire to do so, but ultimately, they decided to film it. Of course, Brooks approached Wilder after filming had wrapped and told him it was the best thing in the movie.
Wilder and Sidney Poitier Became Great Friends
When two people work so well together, there's no reason to not keep casting them side by side, now is there? Since his first collaboration with Richard Pryor had been such a success, the comedy duo got together again in 1980 for the film “Stir Crazy.” The director, the famous Sidney Poitier, became great friends with Wilder while working together.
They worked together to complete what became very difficult filming since Pryor was in the middle of a severe substance abuse problem, and keeping a schedule was near impossible. Fortunately, they finished the film, and it was a huge success.
He Had an Adopted Daughter
Wilder’s second wife, Mary Schutz, had a daughter named Katherine from a previous marriage, but that wasn't something that kept them apart in any way. Before Wilder and Schutz married, Katherine started referring to Wilder as “dad,” and he decided to make it official and adopt her. “It was the right thing to do,” he claimed in an interview.
Unfortunately, Wilder and Katherine grew apart later in life and never really reconnected, despite his many tries. We can imagine Wilder being an incredibly fun parent but we can never know the intricacies behind the real-life relationships of a man and his adopted daughter.
Wilder Did Many Collaborations With Poitier
In 1982, Wilder and Sidney Poitier started working on a script called “Traces,” which later became the famous film “Hanky Panky.” You didn't think they would stop after just one project together, right? Apart from being very well received, the film was where he met comedian, Gilda Radner.
At first, the two co-stars became fast friends, as they were both dating other people at the time. But it didn’t take long for these two friends to realize they were crazy about each other, especially after filming ended and they went their separate ways. They just missed each other too much!