Wilder is best remembered for his sweet and soft demeanor which comically belied his outrageous personalities. A Gene Wilder outburst was like nothing else out there.
Though his body of work isn’t large – he has less than forty acting credits to his name – Wilder left a legacy that will live on for all time. Between his frequent collaborations with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor, he cultivated films that are even funnier today than when they were released. Blazing Saddles, The Producers, and the aforementioned Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Young Frankenstein are comedy classics that everyone should see.
2016 has been a rough, rough year for celebrity deaths. This one hurts a heck of a lot. Wilder was always one of the most approachable talents for a young viewer, and his portrayal as Willy Wonka taught an entire generation about the power of imagination and being comfortable with your own silliness.
We’ll be running a piece that comments on some of our favorite Gene Wilder performances, but for now, let’s take a moment to remember all the smiles and warmth Gene Wilder brought into our life.