OBITUARIES

Legendary Actor / Comedian Gene Wilder Has Passed Away at Age 83

by
August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder

"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:

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."

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  • RAW_D
    A sad day, yet he'll always be Willy Wonka to me, a man of pure imagination.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ-uV72pQKI
    • I have very found memories of this brilliant movie. I can still imagine myself walking on a cloud of cotton candy when I watched it in the movies back in the day. Johnny Depp performance can't hold a candle to Wilder's performance. RIP
  • Josh W
    =(
  • Payne by name
    Let's hope he's strutting through heaven like he does when he first goes to jail in Stir Crazy 'ain't gonna take no shit...'
  • grimjob
    "Are we awake?" "We are not sure. Are we...black?" God I love that man, a sad day indeed. He is among the best.
  • ion677
    This was too good. RIP
  • DAVIDPD
    His performance in WILLY WONKA was career defining and transcendent. He will be missed by thousands.
  • RIP. The Waco Kid. :-(
  • kitano0
    Young Frankenstein is his masterpiece. God, I love that movie.
  • ragethorn
    I haven't seen too many of films but I love this business, so RIP good sir.
  • Bill
    He always seemed so kind.

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