Comedy is filled with a number of historic duos, but few were as influential (or as hilarious) as the partnership of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder.
Together, the pair gave us some of the most legendary comedies of all time, including The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein, and after Wilder died Sunday at the age of 83, Brooks released a statement honoring his longtime collaborator and friend.
“One of the truly great talents of our time,” Brooks wrote on Twitter. “He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.”
The pair met in the early 1960s, when Wilder costarred with Brooks’ wife, Anne Bancroft, in a Broadway production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children. The two soon struck up a friendship that spanned decades, and Brooks cast Wilder in his first leading role in a movie: The Producers. Released in 1968, The Producers starred Zero Mostel as producer Max Bialystock and Wilder as the accountant Leo Bloom, and that year, Wilder earned his first-ever Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Shortly thereafter, Brooks asked Wilder to join his 1974 film Blazing Saddles as a last minute replacement for Gig Young, joining Cleavon Little in the Western comedy. Wilder and Brooks soon teamed up again on the screenplay for Young Frankenstein, which Brooks directed and Wilder starred in as Dr. Frankenstein himself, earning them both an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screnplay.
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See more celebrity tributes to Wilder here, including Russell Crowe, Stephen Fry, Olivia Wilde, and more.