- Mary Joan Schutz was married to Gene Wilder between 1967 and 1974 and has managed to live quietly since their divorce
- Her marriage to the actor was not the first for either of them
- Also, her daughter, Katherine Wilder was adopted by Wilder the same year they got married, yet, they later got estranged
Mary Joan Schutz is one of Hollywood’s recognizable names as a result of being Gene Wilder’s ex-wife. Her rise to fame through marriage to the American actor, comedian, director, and writer is not lost to the fans of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory due to his role as Willy Wonka. Aside from this, she is the mother of actress, Katharine Wilder whom she had from her previous marriage but was later adopted by Wilder.
While their marriage made her a popular person, she managed to keep the details of her personal life away from the public. Nonetheless, here is all we gathered about Schutz.
Who is Mary Joan Schutz?
Mary Joan Schutz is the ex-wife of Gene Wilder whom he was married to for 7 years before their divorce in 1974. Details about her early life are not available but it is generally reported that she was born in the US. Unlike her, Gene was born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Her Marriage to Gene Wilder Lasted Only Seven Years
According to many sources, Mary first met her future husband through her friend, who also happens to be his sister. Soon after, her daughter, Katharine whom she had from a previous marriage with an unidentified man started referring to Gene as ‘dad’. As a result, Gene decided to do the needful by marrying Mary.
The pair walked down the aisle on October 27, 1967, in the presence of their family. Also, he adopted Mary’s daughter in the same year. With this in place, Katharine got the Wilder’s last name.
The Truth About the Divorce
As captured earlier, Mary and Gene were married for seven years before cracks started appearing in the union. One such was when Katherine started suspecting Gene of having an affair with his co-actress, Madeline Kahn. It would be recalled that the two starred in the 1974 comedy horror movie, Young Frankenstein.
This did irreparable damage to the marriage as well as the relationship between Gene and Katharine. While many consider this suspected affair to be the cause of the divorce, however, the actor who is the outspoken one of the two never revealed the real cause of their divorce. In later years, Gene revealed that he lost his child referring to the estrangement between him and Katherine.
Her Ex-husband Wrote a Book for their Daughter
Despite having an estranged relationship with his daughter, Gene wrote the book Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. At the time of the book’s release in 2005, Wilder was hopeful that the book would mend their broken relationship.
As it is, this never happened and he passed away from Alzheimer’s disease on August 29, 2016.
Notably, Gene’s estate passed to his nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman whom he raised as his child. The two are said to have had a close relationship. It’s no wonder that it was Pearlman that announced Wilder’s death.
Did She Move On After the Divorce?
Following Schutz and Wilder’s divorce, she lived quietly and never revealed if she moved on or not. As mentioned earlier, Mary was married before she met the Funny About Love actor. Details about what happened in that marriage were never shared by her except for the child she had.
Moving on, her marriage with Gene was also not his first. He was previously married to Mary Mercier. The marriage lasted for five years before they parted ways. It was a few months after the divorce that he met Schutz and started a relationship with her.
Aside from this, Wilder was able to move on after they parted ways. He had two publicized marriages and other love relationships. His first known relationship after his divorce from Mary was with his co-star, Teri Garr. However, this did not lead to marriage.
Nonetheless, he gave love another chance when he met Saturday Night Life actress Gilda Radner. At the time she was married to G.E Smith, a guitarist but this did not affect their growing relationship. Radner divorced Smith in 1982 and married Wilder in 1984. They were together till she died from ovarian cancer in 1989 after ten years of marriage. Like his previous marriages, this one did not produce any biological children.
Wilder’s last marriage was to Karen Weber, a clinical supervisor he met while preparing for his role in See No Evil, Hear No Evil. This marriage outlived the actor.
Where is Gene Wilders Ex-wife, Mary Joan Schutz Now?
At the moment, Mary is alive and kicking as no sad news about her death is known. Moreso, she is known to be a woman who can live away from media lights and attention as indicated by her lifestyle over the years.
Also, it is known that her daughter, Katherine who is her link to the outside world followed in her ex-husband’s path as an actress. Per IMDB, she has appeared in works like;
- Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story-as Miss Fernburst(2023)
- Anatomy of Scandal-as Kitty Ledger(2022)
- Two Heads of Creek-as Annabelle(2019)
- Frontier-as Chaulk(2017-2018)
- All is True-as Judith Shakespeare(2018)
- Murder on the Orient Express-as Prostitute(2017)
- Geoff-as Madeline(2017)