VALE, CANDYMAN: Legend & OG Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder, Dead At 83

Gene Wilder, the star of comedy classics as Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles but most known for his immortal role as Willy Wonka in in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, has died at the age of 83.

His nephew confirmed in statement that he died late on Sunday from complications stemming from Alzheimer’s disease. Wilder was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989. His nephew’s statement is quite lovely:

We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. 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 and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.

Though many remember him for his madcap roles in Mel Brooks comedies, most have immortalised him as the character of Willy Wonka – the charming, mysterious candy man of the Roald Dahl novel. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t have Wilder’s Willy Wonka embedded into their memory forever.

“I was always very selective,” Wilder once said said of his movie choices. “No, selective isn’t the right word.”
“Egomaniacal,” he clarified.
His frequent collaborator Brooks tweeted a message this morning for his friend: 

Wilder is survived by his wife, Karen, whom he married in 1991. So long, Gene. Rest in peace.
Source: Variety.
Photo: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.,