Comedy Legend Gene Wilder Has Died At 83
Known for playing Willy Wonka and starring in Mel Brooks comedies.
BY Matt Miller | Aug 30, 2016 | Film & TV
Gene Wilder, the actor best known for playing Willy Wonka and appearing in Mel Brooks comedies, has died at the age of 83, the Associated Press reports. Wilder's nephew said the actor and writer died late Sunday from complications with Alzheimer's disease.
"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 recognise those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality," Wilder's nephew said in a statement. "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."
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 first collaborated with director Mel Brooks in 1968 on The Producers, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. Throughout the late-'60s and early-'70s, Wilder appeared in a number of Brooks films, including Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, the latter of which Wilder co-wrote and also earned an Oscar nomination.
In 1971, Wilder played Willy Wonka in the classic film version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. He continued to act throughout the century, appearing in four films with Richard Pryor up until his last appearance on screen in the early 2000s.
In 1989 Wilder was diagnosed with non-Hodkins lymphoma, which had been in remission since 2000.
From: Esquire US