Chocolate Factory star, ‘Willy Wonka’ dies at 83

Chocolate Factory star, ‘Willy Wonka’ dies at 83

Gene Wilder, the star of such comedy classics as The Producers and Blazing Saddles, has died. He was 83.

Wilder’s nephew said on Monday that the actor and writer died late on Sunday in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.  “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,” Jordan Walker-Pearlman, Wilder’s nephew, said in a statement.

He added that Wilder was diagnosed with the disease three years ago but kept the condition private so as not to disappoint fans. “He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world,” Walker-Pearlman said.

The frizzy-haired actor was a master at playing panicked characters caught up in schemes that only director Mel Brooks could devise, whether reviving a monster in Young Frankenstein or bilking Broadway in The Producers. But he also knew how to keep it cool as the boozy gunfighter in Blazing Saddles and as the charming candy man in the children’s favorite Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Read more 

 

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