His first of many visits to a psychotherapist is the opening scene in the memoir he published in 2005, “Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art.”
“What seems to be the trouble?” the therapist asks.
“I want to give all my money away,” he says.
“How much do you have?”
“I owe three hundred dollars.”
In his first major role on Broadway, Mr. Wilder played the chaplain in a 1963 production of Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children.” The production ran for less than two months, and he came to believe that he had been miscast. The good news was that he met the boyfriend of the star, Anne Bancroft: Mel Brooks, who wore a pea coat the night he met Mr. Wilder backstage and told him, “You know, they used to call these urine jackets, but they didn’t sell.”