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Gene Wilder, star of ‘Willy Wonka’ and ‘Young Frankenstein,’ dies at 83
He leaves behind a wealth of comedic roles.
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.
“Good Day Sir!”
RIP Gene Wilder
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) August 29, 2016
First Gene Wilder encounter for me: Luv, on Broadway. Who is THIS guy? Soon we all knew. One of the best. RIP.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) August 29, 2016
Peace to Gene and Gilda. ❤️
— Julie Klausner (@julieklausner) 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
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 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.