20 Things You Never Knew About Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder Was Not His Real Name
Wilder's real name was Jerome Silberman. He changed it when he decided to become an actor because he "couldn't see a 'Jerry Silberman' playing Hamlet." He chose the name 'Wilder' after Our Town scribe Thornton Wilder, and the first name 'Gene' after Thomas Wolfe's character Eugene Gant in Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River. But he later admitted 'Gene' was also subconsciously a tribute to his mother, Jeanne.