Jerome Silberman, professionally known as Gene Wilder, passed away at his home in Connecticut on August 29, 2016. Wilder’s nephew, Jordan Walker Pearlman, said he died from Alzheimer’s disease complications, which he was battling for three years. “It is almost unbearable for us to contemplate our life without him.” He stated.
He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1989.
Walker-Pearlman told Vaniety “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.”
Getting to know Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder was born on June 11, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He became interested in acting at the age of 8 years old. At 13 he studied acting for two years with his sister’s teacher.
Since then the frizzy-haired legend starred in classic movies such as Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory And Young Frankenstein. He started his unforgettable journey in Broadway when starring in “Roots”.
In 1963 Gene Wilder was cast in the Broadway production of “Mother Courage and Her Children” where he met his co-star Anne Bancroft whom introduced him to Mel Brooks. Brooks and Wilder’s friendship led to some of Wilder’s best film work such as “The Producers” which landed him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor, “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein” which got him and Mel Brooks a nomination for best adapted screenplay.
In 1971 Gene Wilder starred in one of the most beloved movies, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Wilder came to life playing Willy Wonka.
Mel Brooks shared his thoughts on Twitter shortly after hearing about Gene Wilder’s death.
“Gene Wilder-One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.”
All of us at CelebMix send our thoughts and prayers to Gene Wilder’s family, friends and fans.
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