RIP Gene Wilder…
The legendary comic Actor Gene Wilder died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.
Variety reports that his nephew said in a statement:
“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. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but 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.
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.”
The iconic Actor gives us dozens of terrific films to remember him by…starring in some of the best comedies ever made…
His big movie break was in the Mel Brooks film “The Producers” – starring opposite Zero Mostel. While not a big hit, Wilder achieved much acclaim, and the film and subsequent Broadway musical has made it a classic…
One of my favorite roles for Wilder is in the Mel Brooks comedy, “Young Frankenstein”. Check out the trailer:
This is one of Wilder’s greatest performances, because during all of the hilarity around him, he portrays Dr. Frankenstein as obsessed by science – in a way that actually grounds the film…his other film for Brooks was anything BUT grounded:
Called one of the funnest movies of all time, this western spoof says it right on the poster: “never give a saga a even break!”
Check out the trailer:
Wilder plays an alcoholic gunfighter who helps a black Sheriff clean up the town of Rock Ridge. Wilder also partnered with one of Hollywood’s great comics as well:
Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor!
Wilder partnered with Richard Pryor on four films, the best of which was “Silver Streak” in 1976…which included a hilarious attempt by Pryor or make Wilder “black”:
They also partnered on “Stir Crazy”, “See No Evil Hear No Evil” and “Another You”…
And his most enduring performance of all time:
Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory
A classic film, with a flawless performance by Wilder as Willy Wonka, the eccentric candy maker who invites a group of his into his factory for the first time…but why?
Check out the trailer:
This is a fever dream of a movie, and Wilder is just the right touch of crazy to pull the part off…a terrific performance by a legendary actor…
RIP Gene Wilder
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