“He was sick and I knew it…I expected he would go. But, when it happens, its still tremendous, it’s still a big shock,” Brooks said. “I’m still reeling from no more Gene – he was such a wonderful part of my life.”
Brooks talked about meeting Wilder, when he was in a production, with Brooks’ late wife Anne Bancroft, of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage. He reminisced about telling Wilder that when he got the money to make The Producers, “you’re going to be Leo Bloom.”
Wilder’s response: “Oh yeah, you’re going to get the money. You’re doing a play about two Jews who are producing a flop instead of a hit, knowing they can make more money. And the big number in it is ‘Springtime for Hitler.’ Yeah, you’re going to get the money!”
To that story, Brooks began messing with his hair, while explaining Wilder’s emotional reaction to Brooks getting the financing.
As Fallon moved to conversation to their next collaboration, Blazing Saddles. Brooks pulled out a comb.