RIP Gene Wilder
As 2016 continues its devastating onward march, the latest to fall victim to this year’s curse is actor, director, and comedian Gene Wilder.
Due to complications from Alzheimer’s, the actor passed away on the morning of August 29 at the age of 83, leaving behind a legacy of much-loved characters and film classics.
Making his acting debut in Bonnie and Clyde, he is best known for his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, also starring in The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil.
Becoming an icon to children and adults alike, he also directed five films, as well as writing for television and the big screen.
Following his death, celebrities took to Twitter to express their sadness at his death. Jim Carrey tweeted: “Gene Wilder was one of the funniest and sweetest energies ever to take a human form. If there’s a heaven he has a golden ticket,” while Mel Brooks called him “one of the truly greatest talents of our time.”
Beyond his film work, he will also be remembered for his kind nature, eschewing the egotism of celebrity culture: “There’s so many Hollywood people,” he said in an interview on NPR, “and I’m not one of them.” It is also said that he kept the news of his Alzheimer’s a secret so as not to upset his young fans.
To remember him in his own words, here is a collection of some of his greatest quotes from real-life and on-screen:
“We are the music makers…and we are the dreamers of dreams.” – Willy Wonka
On writing: “I’d rather write at home with my wife, Karen, and go into my study after breakfast and write…come out, get a cup of tea, go back in, write a little more, come out, have a little lunch, give my wife a kiss, go back in.”
[the interviewer remarks that it seems like a nice day].
“Well, it is a nice day. You should see my wife. You’d think it’s even nicer.”
On his costume in Willy Wonka: “I don’t think of Willy as an eccentric who holds on to his 1912 Dandy’s Sunday suit and wears it in 1970,” he wrote, “but rather as just an eccentric — where there’s no telling what he’ll do or where he ever found his get-up — except that it strangely fits him: Part of this world, part of another. A vain man who knows colours that suit him, yet, with all the oddity, has strangely good taste. Something mysterious, yet undefined.”
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men” – Willy Wonka
In conversation on PBS in 2007: “On stage or in the movies I could do whatever I wanted to. I was free.”
In his memoir: “I think to be believed, onstage or onscreen, is the one hope that all actors share.”
Here’s to you, Gene.