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'Willy Wonka' Star Gene Wilder Is Dead at 83

Gene Wilder, one of the great comedic minds of our time, has passed away at the age of 83, according to reports. 

Probably best known as the original Willy Wonka in 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wilder dominated movie and TV screens for two decades with a number of memorable roles that took advantage of neurotic and frenetic sensibilities. He’s been absent from any notable roles for awhile now, following a 1989 diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, eventually passing away at his home in Stamford, CT due to complications with Alzheimer’s disease.

Some of Wilder’s best roles were typically opposite another comedian, like when it came to his long-running partnership with Richard Pryor, which produced films like Stir Crazy and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. Wilder was also fond of Mel Brooks comedies, appearing in The Producers, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles.

And while the films weren’t as memorable as the ones mentioned above, our favorite Gene Wilder collaboration is the one he had with his late wife, Gilda Radner. The duo, who married in 1984 and remained married until Radner’s death in 1989, starred in three films together (Hanky Panky, The Woman in Red, Haunted Honeymoon), with each revealing an evolution not just of their combined comedic genius, but of their genuine comedic chemistry. Now, at last, they are together again.

Cheers to you, Mr. Wilder. You will be greatly missed. 

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