Legendary actor Gene Wilder has died at age 83

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first_imgThe hits just keep on coming in 2016. Some much-beloved actors and artists have passed away this year, and you can now add iconic actor Gene Wilder to that list.Wilder, who gained fame for roles in films like Blazing Saddles and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, died at home in Stamford, Connecticut from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease.Wilder got his big break as accountant Leo Bloom in 1967’s The Producers, for which he got an Oscar nomination. Wilder is perhaps best known for his enduring portrayal of chocolatier Willy Wonka in the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The movie didn’t rack up big numbers at the box office, but over the years it has become a favorite of kids (and grown ups) around the world. It wasn’t until later roles in the Mel Brooks films Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein that Wilder became a household name.In the 1980s, Wilder did a series of successful comedy films co-starring Richard Pryor. However, Wilder largely retired following the death of his wife, Saturday Night Live performer Gilda Radner in 1989. It speaks to the impact his performances had that even after all these years, he’s still held in such high regard.According to Wilder’s family, he escaped many of the most devastating symptoms of Alzheimer’s. He never lost his ability to recognize close friends and family and retained his “central-gentle-life affirming core personality.” Wilder and his family chose not to make his condition known earlier because they didn’t want kids who saw “the real Willy Wonka” to have to hear about his illness from adults. A class act to the end.last_img

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