Wilder was asked to star in another comedy film titled “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” alongside Richard Pryor. The successful duo was about to strike again! Once he read the script, however, Wilder said the only way he would accept the part was if he could rewrite it, to which the producers said yes.
Ironically, after the film’s release in 1989, critics gave a lot of negative reviews, the main one being the script. Guess it doesn’t matter how good you are, no man is immune to a bad review every once in a while. However, Wilder, Pryor, and Kevin Spacey’s performances were praised by all.
Wilder and Radner Couldn’t Have Children
Once Wilder and Radner decided to start trying for a family, tragedy ensued. Radner had several miscarriages, and no doctor could give them a reason why. Getting pregnant can be incredibly easy for some and incredibly difficult for others. For Radner it became impossible to carry a pregnancy to term. Radner decided to go back to the set to distract her mind off her difficulty and started getting sharp pains in her legs and shortness of breath.
She sought medical treatment and consulted many doctors, listened to countless diagnoses that ended up being wrong until finally, they found she had ovarian cancer.
Wilder Thought Radner Was in Remission
The couple obviously rerouted their efforts from getting pregnant to getting Gilda healthy. After a very tough year and a half of chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions, during which Wilder never left Radner’s side, her cancer went into remission.
The couple was as happy as can be, with Wilder even going back to work on a TriStar Pictures production in which he starred alongside Richard Pryor. Unfortunately, a year later, in 1989, Radner's cancer came back and metastasized. Gilda Radner passed away in May 1989. This made Radner the second person in Wilder's life that he had lost to cancer — the first one being his mother.
Wilder Became Very Involved in Raising Cancer Awareness
It often happens that people with means and funds choose to invest them in causes close to their heart. And what could have been closer to Wilder than his dear wife's passing? After Radner passed away in 1989, Wilder became very involved in raising cancer awareness and promoting causes that offered treatment.
He even founded the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and also a support group called Gilda’s Club. Gilda’s Club was a support group for cancer patients and survivors that started in New York City and became so big throughout the years that eventually opened branches across the U.S.
He Starred in a Movie Directed by Leonard Nimoy
Wilder drowned himself in work after Radner’s death, and his next project was a romantic comedy directed by none other than Spock himself. Interestingly, the movie had main elements that paralleled with Wilder's life. This must have helped the new widower process his grief. Wilder and director Leonard Nimoy worked together on this film about a political cartoonist, played by Wilder, who has a wife that can’t have children.
The cartoonist ends up falling in love with a sorority girl, played by Mary Stuart Masterson, and is finally able to have a family. Unfortunately, the movie wasn’t a big hit.