Wild-haired comedic genius, Gene Wilder, passed away Sunday night at his home in Stamford, Connecticut.
Wilder was known for his leading roles in classics like “Young Frankenstein”, “Blazing Saddles”, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and many more.
From the New York Times:
Eric Weissmann, who was Mr. Wilder’s lawyer for many years, confirmed the death. A nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, said that the cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mr. Wilder’s rule for comedy was simple: Don’t try to make it funny; try to make it real. “I’m an actor, not a clown,” he said more than once.
With his haunted blue eyes and an empathy born of his own history of psychic distress, he aspired to touch audiences much as Charlie Chaplin had. The Chaplin film “City Lights,” he said, had “made the biggest impression on me as an actor; it was funny, then sad, then both at the same time.”
Mr. Wilder was an accomplished stage actor as well as a screenwriter, a novelist and the director of four movies in which he starred. (He directed, he once said, “in order to protect what I wrote, which I wrote in order to act.”) But he was best known for playing roles on the big screen that might have been ripped from the pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Mel Brooks, tweeted this afternoon:
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
From one of my personal favorites, “Young Frankenstein”:
Wilder’s third wife, Gilda Radner, was part of the original (and arguably funniest) Saturday Night Live cast. She passed away in 1989 after a long fight with ovarian cancer. Wilder married Karen Boyer in 1991.
And a great piece of advice:
Requiem in pace, Mr. Wilder. You will be greatly missed.
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