If you ask a certain age group many believe Johnny Depp is the Willy Wonka, they would be correct however Gene Wilder will always be remembered as the original Willy Wonka. Sadly today it was announced the 83 year old American actor has passed away.
The new was announced by the late actor’s nephew confirmed his uncle died on Sunday due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Gene Wilder will always be known for his work with Mel Brooks first big role in 1968 as Leo Bloom in the cult comedy The Producers. A Year after the making his big screen role with a brief role as a kidnapped undertaker Eugene Guzzard in Bonnie and Clyde.
In 1974’s legendary Blazing Saddles as the Waco Kid , Young Frankenstein as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein continued his comedy streak (and partnership with Brooks too). Amazingly Gene Wilder never saw himself as comedic actor.
In between the Mel Brooks Years Mr Wilder played in several memorable roles including 1970’s Start The Revolution With Me with Donald Sutherland. Woody Allen‘s 1972 Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), but it was the year before that people will remember him for.
1971 he played one of the much loved literature’s characters Willy Wonka in Roald Dahl’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. A film that was regarded as an flop at the time but over the years became an instant children’s favourite.
Besides Mel Brooks, Mr Wilder worked four times with Richard Pryor first in 1976 with Silver Streak, then 1980’s with Stir Crazy an massive success with $100million at the box office. However the other 2 films See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Another You less successful returns.
It was the early 1980’s Mr Wilder met his third wife Gilder Radner whom he worked with on three films including Hanky Panky, Woman In Red and Haunted Honeymoon.Sadly at the young age of 42 Gilder died of Ovarian Cancer, Mr Wilder gave up acting to nurse his wife. Later promoting awareness of the horrible illness as well as a centre in Los Angeles dedicated to nursing other sufferers.
Mel Brooks tweeted: “One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic and he blessed me with his friendship.”
R.I.P Mr Wilder