Gene Wilder's Widow Karen Boyer Recalls His Touching Last Words in New Documentary

Gene Wilder and Karen Boyer were married from 1991 until Wilder died of Alzheimer's disease on August 29, 2016

<p>Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty</p> Karen Boyer and Gene Wilder

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Karen Boyer and Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder's widow is recalling some of the actor's final moments.

In the new documentary Remembering Gene Wilder, Karen Boyer, who was married to the Young Frankenstein star from 1991 until his death at 83 in 2016, shares her experience with Wilder in the years between his diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease and his final days.

"He hadn't walked alone [in a long time] and it was just a few days before he died, and I looked up and he was walking across the kitchen and then he said, 'I want to go swimming,' " Boyer, who was Wilder's fourth wife, says in the documentary. "He dove into the pool liked he used to — I saw his little tush in the air — and I was awestruck."

"And he took two strokes, he stood up, shook his head the way he always did to get the water out of his ear and said, 'That's good,' " she recalled. "Went back to bed, and I think he just wanted to get in the pool one more time."

Boyer also recalls in the documentary that the final words she heard Wilder speak came while the couple listened to Ella Fitzgerald's classic song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Related: WATCH: Remembering Gene Wilder's Most Iconic Roles

<p>Kino Lorber</p> Remembering Gene Wilder poster

Kino Lorber

Remembering Gene Wilder poster

"The music was playing in the background — Ella Fitzgerald was singing 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow,' and I was lying next to him and he sat up in bed and he said, 'I trust you,' " she said. "And then he said, 'I love you.' That's the last thing he said."

Wilder was renowned for his lengthy career on the stage and screen; he memorably starred in classic movies like The Prouders (1967), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), Blazing Saddles (1974) and Young Frankenstein (1974), among dozens of other roles.

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<p>Ron Asadorian / Splash News</p> Karen Boyer and Gene Wilder

Ron Asadorian / Splash News

Karen Boyer and Gene Wilder

He first met Boyer, who worked as a speech consultant, while he conducted research for his 1989 movie See No Evil, Hear No Evil. The pair did not go on a first date for over a year after their original meeting. Wilder and Boyer's relationship came after his third wife, comedian and actress Gilda Radner, died at 42 in 1989 of ovarian cancer.

"Gene was wonderful; he was the best husband I think anybody could ask for. To love and be loved is the best gift anybody could ask for, and we had that," Boyer says in the documentary.

Related: Inside Gene Wilder's Final Days and Private Health Battle

<p>Nick Laham/Getty</p> Karen Boyer and Gene Wilder on Sept. 8, 2008

Nick Laham/Getty

Karen Boyer and Gene Wilder on Sept. 8, 2008

Boyer additionally shares in the film that she first noticed Wilder's memory troubles when he struggled to remember the title of Young Frankenstein, which she calls "his favorite movie" in the documentary.

"He never really accepted that he had Alzheimers, and maybe by the time we found out that's what it was, his hippocampus didn't let him remember," she says in the film. "So I'm not sure that he ever knew. When I'd see him slip away further from me I was sick to my stomach but I had to keep smiling and tell him that everything was okay." 

Remembering Gene Wilder is playing in theaters in New York now. The documentary will begin screening in Los Angeles March 22 and later expand to screens nationally.

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