RIP, Gene Wilder

American actor Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory', directed by Mel Stuart, 1971. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

American actor Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’, directed by Mel Stuart, 1971. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“Gene Wilder, a two-time Oscar nominee and comedy star, has died at age 83,” as the L.A. Times is reporting. “Wilder appeared in some of the most enduring comedies of the modern era. He had an ability to capture a frazzled persona on the brink of meltdown, bringing audiences ongoing delight. His collaborations with Mel Brooks, on films ‘The Producers,’ ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ‘Young Frankenstein,’ are considered classics.

“’It is with indescribable sadness and blues, but with spiritual gratitude for the life lived that I announce the passing of husband, parent, and universal artist Gene Wilder, at his home in Stamford Connecticut,’ Wilder’s nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said in a statement. ‘It is almost unbearable for us to contemplate our life without him.’”

“Wilder died Sunday night from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. ‘The choice to keep this private was his choice, in talking with us and making a decision as a family,’ his nephew explained.

“It was Wilder’s memorable turn as the title character in the 1971 film ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ that spurred his decision to keep his condition private. ‘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,’ his nephew said. ‘He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.’”

The rest of the article is here.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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