Gene Wilder, star of ‘Willy Wonka’ and ‘Young Frankenstein,’ dies at 83

Gene Wilder

Photo via s_bukley/ (Fair Use) Remix by Jason Reed

He leaves behind a wealth of comedic roles.

Actor Gene Wilder has died at the age of 83, according to the Associated Press. 

Wilder is perhaps best known for his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, but his comedic talent was illuminated in the Mel Brooks films Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. He was married to comedian Gilda Radner from 1984 until her death from ovarian cancer in 1989, and he co-founded the support group Gilda’s Club. 

On Twitter, comedians, writers, and actors shared their condolences and favorite memories. 

Wilder’s nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, said in a statement that he died from complications due to Alzheimer’s: “We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones—this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality.”

Here’s the entire statement:

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.