The death of legendary actor and comedian Gene Wilder at age 83, forever known for his role in ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,’ ‘Blazing Saddles,’ and other classics, has come as a shock to the entertainment world. Many have taken to Twitter and other social media to pay tribute. Here’s a roundup of what is being said.
Gene Wilder died at his home in Stamford, Connecticut on August 29 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. His nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, confirmed the death and released a statement revealing why his diagnosis and illness was kept secret, according to Variety.
It read in part: “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 starred in so many memorable and iconic movies, and is especially known for his work alongside director Mel Brooks in ‘Blazing Saddles,’ The Producers, ‘Young Frankenstein’ and other movies of the 1970s and 1980s. He’s also known for his work alongside fellow comedy legend, the late Richard Pryor in ‘Stir Crazy’ in the 1970s and later in the 1980s and 1990s, ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil’ and ‘Another You.’
The two-time Oscar nominee was married to comedian and SNL alum Gilda Radner — costarring with her in ‘The Woman in Red’ — until her death in 1989 of ovarian cancer. He married Karen Boyer, in 1991, who survives him.
Mel Brooks and others who worked alongside him over the years were among the first to pay tribute. Many fellow actors, actresses, comedians, celebrities and public figures also took to social media to express their condolences, and to pay tribute and share memories. Here’s a roundup of what’s being said.
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