Gene Wilder dead at 83

Gene WilderGene Wilder, best known for his role as the eccentric Willy Wonka in 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has died.

According to his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman, he passed away Monday (August 29) in his home in Stamford, Connecticut of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83 years old.

Gene was twice nominated for an Oscar for his work in The Producers and for co-writing the comedy Young Frankenstein with Mel Brooks. He was also lauded for his hilarious work in Mel Brooks’ Western satire Blazing Saddles.

He leaves behind wife Karen Webb, whom he’s been married to for nearly 25 years.

The legendary performer was previously married to Saturday Night Live alum Gilda Radner, who died in 1989 of ovarian cancer. Following Radner’s death, Gene became a vocal advocate for cancer research and treatment, co-founding the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and Gilda’s Club, a support group to raise awareness around cancer. ~Shelby Morton

What is your favorite Gene Wilder character/movie? Tell us below.

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Hazel • August 29, 2016 @ 4:40 PM

    I loved and will always love Young Frankenstein. This is too sad.

  2. Pam Pickle • August 29, 2016 @ 4:58 PM

    Very funny guy!!! We often enjoy watching ALL your movies, & may many more people continue to enjoy them for years to come!

    Too many to pick a favorite, but a few of ours are See no Evil Hear no Evil, Willy Wonka, Haunted Honeymoon, Blazing Saddles…oh my…I could go on & on!!!

    Rest in peace Gene, if that’s possible with all your hilarious pals up there in Heaven!!!

    Thank you & Bless you xxoo…

  3. CDubya • August 29, 2016 @ 6:07 PM

    2016 is a sad year for the passing of many huge stars. Now I need to have a Blazing Saddles, Woman in Red, Hear No Evil See No Evil, etc movie marathon to appreciate his work again.

  4. Sarah • August 29, 2016 @ 7:30 PM

    I like Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory as Willy Wonka himself.

  5. Don • August 30, 2016 @ 12:07 AM

    Off the top of my head I can think of a few favorite movies of mine from Gene Wilder. “Silver Streak” and “Stir Crazy” where his sidekick was Richard Pryor. Another good one was Young Frankenstein.

  6. Snepts • August 30, 2016 @ 4:22 AM

    I was nine years old when my cousin took me to see my first Gene Wilder film (SILVER STREAK), and he’s been a favourite ever since. It was a thrill and a privilege to meet him during the book tour for his autobiography. He and Richard Pryor were the last great comedy team. Thank you, Gene — few people made Life seem so funny.

  7. Lana Humble • August 30, 2016 @ 11:59 AM

    A funny, funny man. My all-time favourite Gene Wilder movie is Blazing Saddles.

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