Sometimes it’s easy to forget about someone when they choose to retire from the world, but someone like Gene Wilder could never be forgotten. He made too big of an impression, with his high-strung nature, frizzy hair, and bugged-out eyes. His impression might last, but the world is now short one genius actor. Gene Wilder, born Jerome Silberman, has passed away. He was 83.
Wilder has been retired in recent years. Since 2013, he’s been quietly struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, and that disease finally took his life, according to his nephew. He kept his diagnosis quiet because, according to family, he didn’t want to take another smile from the world. With four movies with Richard Pryor (including the hilarious Silver Streak), his time alongside Mel Brooks, and the never-to-be-topped Willy Wonka, his comic creations will stand the test of time and are verified classics. He gave many more smiles than he could have ever taken, private struggle or no.
“Gene Wilder, one of the truly great talents of our time, is gone,” wrote frequent Gene Wilder collaborator Mel Brooks, who worked with Wilder on The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and with the scene-stealing Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein. “He blessed every film we did together with his special magic and he blessed my life with his friendship. He will be so missed.”
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