What Happened To Gene Wilder's Daughter?

In a 2002 CNN interview with Larry King, renowned comedian Gene Wilder was asked whether or not he had children, and the star gave an unusual response, "No. I had a daughter and lost her a long while ago. That's too sad a story to go into." Did this answer imply that Wilder — who died in 2016 from issues related to Alzheimer's, via Bustle — at one point had a young daughter pass away unexpectedly? Or had something else happened to Gene Wilder's daughter?

Wilder married his second wife, Mary Joan Schutz, in 1967, per Biography. Schutz had one child from a previous marriage named Katherine, whom Wilder adopted. Schutz and Wilder later split under clouds of suspicion that he was having an affair with his "Young Frankenstein" co-star Madeline Kahn (via The Famous People). It's this adopted daughter to whom Wilder was referring when he responded to King's question all those years later.

She's highly successful

Following the revelation that Gene Wilder was allegedly unfaithful to her mother, Katherine Wilder cut off all ties with her stepdad (per The Famous People). Nevertheless, she's alive and well, and highly successful in the music industry and film production, both in front of and behind the camera. One of her most well-known roles came in 2017, when she starred in the most current movie adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic, "Murder on the Orient Express."

Although Katherine Wilder would maintain her adopted surname, she never again spoke to her stepfather, something that bothered the comedian and actor until the day he died. In 2005, he released the memoir "Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art," in part to address these difficult periods in his life. Although he doubted Katherine would ever read the book, he said he wrote it to remind her of "things I did lovingly, for her. Do I think she'll read it? No. But if she does, I hope it will explain some things she didn't want to understand" (per Bustle).