Gene Wilder, of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles fame, has sadly passed away at the age of 83. His nephew informed the Associated Press that his uncle died Sunday night at his home in Stamford, Conn., from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
In a rare interview with Robert Osborne back in 2013, Wilder spoke about his career and how his iconic movie roles have followed him throughout his lifetime. The actor revealed he still received letters from Willy Wonka fans asking for an autographed photo. “It’s all because they saw Willy Wonka,” he said. “Sometimes it’s someone who’s 12 years old, sometimes it’s 21 years old, sometimes it’s 34 years old. But they want to have it signed.”
Ever the humble actor, Wilder told Osborne, “when people see me in a movie, and if it’s funny, they stop and say things to me about ‘how funny you are … I don’t think I’m that funny. I think I can be, in the movies.”
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Many actors have been posting tributes to the late star, including Aaron Paul, who captioned a photo of Wilder in Young Frankenstein: “Grew up laughing and crying over this mans brilliant and beautiful work. Thank you Mr. Wilder for it all. You are a legend my friend.”
Grew up laughing and crying over this mans brilliant and beautiful work. Thank you Mr. Wilder for it all. You are a legend my friend.
Sarah Jessica Parker is also giving us all the feels with her Instagram post about her “first crush. The brilliantly funny Gene Wilder. Those blue eyes and unique comedic gifts a potent and seductive combination. R.I.P.”
My first crush. The brilliantly funny Gene Wilder. Those blue eyes and unique comedic gifts a potent and seductive combination. R.I.P. x, sj
Lena Dunham posted a sweet snap of Wilder and his late wife Gilda Radner (better known as Roseanne Roseannadanna).
dream of heaven #reunion #itsalwayssomething
James Franco posted a photo of the legend in his famous Willy Wonka pose with the caption, “love and memories, forever.”
❤️love and memories, forever❤️
In the wise words of Willy Wonka: “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. He lived happily ever after.” Our thoughts, and the thoughts of those who were inspired by the incredible actor, are with Gene Wilder’s family and friends.
Gene Wilder-One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.
— Mel Brooks (@MelBrooks) August 29, 2016
A man who lit up the world with his joy and genius. I can’t say what it meant to act with him and get to know his heart. RIP #GeneWilder
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) August 29, 2016
A genius I stole from constantly, and one I was humbled & thrilled to work with. RIP #GeneWilder pic.twitter.com/hCFyET1jji
— Eric McCormack (@EricMcCormack) August 29, 2016
Thank you for the beautiful words. #GeneWilder https://t.co/pLRT1bPPdA
— Juliette Lewis (@JulietteLewis) August 29, 2016
RIP #GeneWilder absolute master. Brilliant in so many ways. His life’s work is timeless and everlasting. pic.twitter.com/hYHYk8hm4h
— John Cena (@JohnCena) August 29, 2016
#RIP #GeneWilder one of the great comic geniuses. U will be missed! pic.twitter.com/ZXEPITKCux
— John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) August 29, 2016
#WillyWonka #GeneWilder see you on the other side.
— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) August 29, 2016