Beloved actor Gene Wilder passed away on August 29 at the age of 83. He left behind numerous classic movies, including four with comedian Richard Pryor (Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Another You). Wilder also starred in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, which was co-written by Pryor. Here's Wilder recalling their first day working together:
Despite the fact that the pair worked together so well, reports are resurfacing of a Wilder quote about their off-screen relationship, which may not have been so intimate.
"We were never good friends, contrary to popular belief," the actor reportedly said. "We turned it on for the camera, then turned it off. He was a pretty unpleasant person to be around during the time we worked together. He was going through his drug problems then and didn’t want a friendship outside of what we did on the screen."
Meanwhile, Richard Pryor's daughter, Rain, says that her father—who died in 2005 at the age of 65—also really loved working with Wilder. She told THR:
[Richard] thought he was amazing. He thought them together was amazing. He always said, "That man's a genius, and he's a good man, that's for sure." I always heard him say, "He's a good man."
I think they both helped each other grow as artists in their art form and for who they were outside of their art form. They are the people who set the stage outside of the Laurel and Hardy type of thing.
As far as their off-screen relationship, she confirms that they may not have been extremely close, but that didn't interrupt the "magic" between them.
[Wilder] was a very caring human being, but I know that he didn't hang out with dad a lot because they just didn't—my dad was different. They were different in natures. Mr. Wilder was the older "I'm here. I'm doing my work and we have a great chemistry. And then I'm going to go have my sober life." He was a normal dude compared to my dad in that sense. But in terms of his kindness and generosity and to watch the two of them together, there's not a magic that's been like that in a long time.
At least onscreen, there's really no disputing their chemistry.