Gene Wilder, the actor to some of the worlds greatest films such as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and The Producers passed away at his home in Stamford, Connecticut yesterday at the age of 83.
The cause of his death has been reported as complications with Alzheimer’s disease, which was previously kept private from the public. In a statement by Wilder’s nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman stated that Wilder did this was to “more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him ‘there’s Willy Wonka,’ would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.”
Gene Wilder’s death hasn’t hit me yet. While I never got to meet him, known him personally, I did grow up with his movies as pretty much every young child has. His role as Willy Wonka forever shaped my life as I can remember countless times of watching this movie on television, VHS and DVD. From time’s watching this movie with family and friends and even just by myself because it was such a great movie.
Other movies he starred in helped to shape my entertainment viewing life. They were just pure awesomeness even if that word doesn’t describe it as much as I want it to.
Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, The Producers and many others of the movies he was in are still relatable today. His acting in these movies have turned them into timeless classics that are still quotable and memorable today.
Gene Wilder and comedian Richard Pryor were quite the movie duo. As they starred in four films together Stir Crazy, Another You, Silver Streak and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. The teaming of Wilder and Pryor was a great idea and became the first interracial comedy duo.
Wilder also partnered with another comedian when in 1982 he met Gilda Radner and two years later they married. While they wished to have children together, they learned that Radner had ovarian cancer. While fighting off the cancer in 1989 it ultimately won. Thus leading Wilder in to him actively promoting cancer awareness and treatment, helping to find the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles as well as helping to finding Gilda’s Club along with Joel Siegel.
In 1991, Another You, the final movie he co-starred with Richard Pryor would be his final movie. Wilder would go into a semi-retirement outside of a short-lived sitcom on NBC which lasted 18 episodes, entitled Something Wilder. He’d star in some made for television movies but mostly was done with television and movie. Until in 2003, when he guest starred on Will & Grace. A role that would lead him a Primetime Emmy for outstanding guest actor in a comedy scene.
Two years after winning his first ever Emmy, Wilder would publish his memoir, Kiss Me Like A Strange: My Search for Love and Art. He would again publish a few more books My French Whore, The Woman Who Wouldn’t, Something to Remember You By and What Is This Thing Called Love? Proving that he was a man of many talents.
Growing up enjoying Wilder’s acting is something that I wouldn’t forget. The quotes his characters said are one’s I still say to this day. While this quote is actually his and it’s just a quote that he said during a scripted movie. It surely explained how he lived his life.