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Thread: Gene Wilder RIP

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Independent Republic of Cork

    Default Gene Wilder RIP

    Comedy legend Gene Wilder, who starred in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, has died at the age of 83.

    Wilder, who also starred in Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Stir Crazy, died on Sunday night in Stamford, Connecticut, said his family.

    His nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, said the film legend had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease-related complications.

    In a statement to Variety, Mr Walker-Pearlman said the illness "never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality".

    He said the decision to delay disclosing his condition was because: "He simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world."

    The frizzy-haired actor - who excelled at playing neurotic characters caught up in madcap schemes - was twice Oscar nominated, for his role in The Producers, a Mel Brooks comedy.

    In 1971, he assumed the role of Willy Wonka, one of his most beloved characters, which became a children's favourite.

    In 1974 he starred in two other Brooks comedies, Western spoof Blazing Saddles and gothic horror spoof, Young Frankenstein.

    He co-starred with Richard Pryor in the 1976 train-murder comedy Silver Streak.

    The two paired up again in 1980 prison comedy Stir Crazy, which was another box office smash.

    Brooks said on Twitter: "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."

    The son of a Russian Jewish immigrant, Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1933.

    He is survived by fourth wife Karen Boyer, whom he wed in 1991. Wilder's third wife Gilda Radner died in 1989 of ovarian cancer.

    He himself was treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2000.
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