Gene Wilder - Off To His Own World Of Pure Imagination
Monday August 29th Hollywood lost a legend. The great Gene Wilder, 83, passed away due to complications with Alzheimer’s. The younger audience might remember him as Willy Wonka from the 1971 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The even younger audience might remember Johnny Depp playing this roll in the 2005 Tim Burton reboot; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But the late Gene Wilder has had many more great rolls in Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Much of Hollywood and Wilder’s fans did not know he had Alzheimer’s Disease and after his death his family released the following statement: “The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him ‘there’s Willy Wonka,’ would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble,” Growing up Gene Wilder did not want to be a comedian but he found his calling when he was about eight years old. His mother had a heart attack and in an interview with PBS Digital, Wilder recounts what the doctor told him when his mother finally came home. “Don’t ever get angry with your mother… because you might kill her.” From then on his whole purpose was to try and make her smile. He says, “For the first time in my life I consciously tried to make someone else laugh.” We are so thankful that he did. Wilder went on to rack up an extensive amount of credits by way of acting, on and off stage, directing, and even singing on several soundtracks including The Producers: Original Broadway Performance, Young Frankenstein, and Alice in Wonderland. Gene enlightened the world when he said, “If you ask an actor, ‘why do you want to act?’ I don’t think most of them know the real reasons.” While Wilder did not necessarily want to be a comedian, he knew he wanted to act. “I felt in the movies I could do whatever I wanted… I was free.” Now he is truly free and off to his own world of pure imagination.