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Gene Wilder, Star of ‘Willy Wonka’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’, Dies At 83


Professor Pamela Downs recounts the life works and talents of actor Gene Wilder

Tributes of the late great star are already popping up, and unsurprisingly, some of them are edible.

Since news broke that Gene Wilder had died Sunday at the age of 83, numerous comedian’s costars and collaborators have offered their condolences and shared their favorite memories of Wilder.

Although Wilder maintained that he wasn’t a comedian, he turned to comedy at an early age to keep his mother, who was suffering from heart disease, uplifted and free of stress through laughter. “#RIP #GeneWilder thank you 4 your pure imagination”. The episode was taped before Wilder died.

Corden shared that the two exchanged emails, and he asked Wilder to be a part of a Willy Wonka sketch for his first Late Late Show.

Born Jerome Silberman, the comic actor also starred in classic films such as The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

In 1971, he took on the role of one of his most beloved characters, Willy Wonka, in Willy Wonka the Chocolate Factory. And although Wonka may have traumatized the spoiled children on screen, Wilder’s costars remember him as nothing but kind and thoughtful.

After Wilder’s death was announced Monday, Brooks called his colleague “one of the truly great talents of our time”. If there’s a heaven he has a Golden Ticket”, while Ricky Gervais added: “Good Day Sir! But when people see me in a movie and it’s funny then they stop and say things to me about ‘how funny you were.’ But I don’t think I’m that funny.

“I think it’s an insult”. “You never knew what to expect from Gene”.

“I saw Blazing Saddles 7 times at the cinema with my school friends”.

Wilder kept his Alzheimer’s condition under wraps despite receiving the diagnosis three years ago.

He won an Emmy in 2003 for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for appearances on Will and Grace.

“His ability to bring your attention in made me want to be one of those kids that Wilder invited into his factory”.

Wilder also was active in promoting ovarian cancer awareness and treatment after his wife, “Saturday Night Live” comedian Gilda Radner, whom he married in 1984, died of the disease in 1989.