Legendary Actor / Comedian Gene Wilder Has Passed Away at Age 83
by Alex Billington
August 29, 2016
"Thanks for stopping by Earth for a while." -Olivia Wilde. Another legendary actor has passed away today. We're sad to report the death of the one-and-only Gene Wilder, who died at the age of 83 of complications from Alzheimer's disease. Wilder was nominated for two Oscars and two Golden Globes, but never won either, despite writing and starring in some of the most memorable and beloved films of all-time. He's most known for playing Willy Wonka in the classic 1971 musical version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (one of my favorites), and he worked closely with Mel Brooks for years, starring in Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. This is another tough loss to entertainment, but he will be remembered fondly.
Here are some of the tweets being posted in memory of Gene Wilder today, including one from Mel Brooks:
"We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams" Thank you Mr. Wilder. May you Rest in Peace
— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) August 29, 2016
Gene Wilder-One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.
— Mel Brooks (@MelBrooks) August 29, 2016
Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak, Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, Stir Crazy: Gene Wilder, you were my youth! RIP ❤️ pic.twitter.com/zK0v4d70gh
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 29, 2016
Thanks for stopping by Earth for a while. pic.twitter.com/gBqYOsdWWp
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) August 29, 2016
Gene Wilder acted at a different frequency than any other. He was always a moment away from tenderness or hysteria. What an original.
— alan tudyk (@AlanTudyk) August 29, 2016
— Taran Killam (@TaranKillam) August 29, 2016
The news was confirmed by outlets like Variety and CNN. Wilder's nephew released a statement along with news of his death discussing why they didn't mention his Alzheimer's condition publicly before, mainly because "[Gene] simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world." Adding: "He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen. He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer, held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the the company of beloved ones." It sounds like he wanted nothing more than to bring happiness and laughter to the world, and he certainly did just that, with every performance he gave.
Wilder first started out performing on Broadway, making his big screen leap with Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. He then went on to star in Mel Brooks' The Producers (receiving a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination) before Willy Wonka. He co-wrote Young Frankenstein with Mel Brooks, and directed a few films as well including The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, The World's Greatest Lover, The Woman in Red, and Haunted Honeymoon. His last on-screen roles were in Another You and Funny About Love in the early 90s. His filmography isn't the most extensive, but it is certainly memorable and iconic. His work will live on. Actor Mark Webber stated aptly in his tweet: "I imagine you smiling as you return to the source."