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He was and is the perfect Leo Bloom, that misbegotten mensch in the original The Producers. Those enormous, searching eyes; the puckish grin; the untamable hair—Gene Wilder could be both needy child and naughty man, often at once. Perhaps because he’s such a singular actor, the man’s writing and directing credits are often ignored. Though Mel Brooks is usually granted most of the credit for Young Frankenstein, the idea and a great part of the script actually came from Wilder. Indeed, shortly before the ’80s era of “high-concept” moviemaking, Wilder displayed a knack for coming up with great titles that dared you not to laugh and taunted you into the theater: Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, The World’s Greatest Lover. But Wilder also has an instinct for schmaltz that serves him less well, as indicated by the title of his new memoir, Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. Despite all Wilder’s successes, Kiss Me paints quite the sad picture. Told through a 30-year relationship with his psychiatrist, the book is filled with such sentences as, “While Gilda was throwing up in our bedroom in Connecticut, I was writing a comedy in the room just below her.” One can appreciate the attempt at soldiering on with a stiff upper lip, but still. The book ends like a conversation with anyone’s grandfather—an unending catalog of ills, sparing few details regarding chemo and blood samples and various yech. But Wilder has earned his good fortune, no matter how miserable it reads. The program starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $20. (202) 252-0012. (Dave Nuttycombe)