Published On: Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

beloved Actor Gene Wilder, ‘Willy Wonka’ Star, Dies at 83

WATCH VIDEO: Gene Wilder on Willy Wonka Remake, Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks, and more

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Two-time Oscar-nominated actor Gene Wilder,  died at the age of 83, at his home in Stamford, Connecticut from complications of Alzheimer’s disease earlier today.

The legendary actor, who was born to a Jewish family, beloved for his roles in the fantasy film Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory,  The Producers and Young Frankenstein, among many others.

Wilder frequently collaborated with director and writer el Brooks as well as stand-up comedian Richard Pryor in hits “Silver Streak” and “Stir Crazy.”

He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1989.

His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said in a statement:

“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.

He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years,  Karen. He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer,  held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the the company of beloved ones.”

 

 

Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee. He became interested in acting at age 8, when his mother was sick with rheumatic fever and he was trying “to make her laugh.”

His mother Jeanne Silberman sent him to a military school where he wrote that he was bullied because he was the only Jewish boy in that school.

At the age of 26 he adopted the name stage Gene Wilder.

He usually played a neurotic who jibebetween total hysteria and dewy-eyed tenderness. “My quiet exterior used to be a mask for hysteria, ” he told Time magazine in 1970. “After seven years of analysis, it just became a habit.”

After his wife “Saturday Night Live” comedienne Gilda Radner, whom he married in 1984, died of the disease in 1989 he become active active in promoting ovarian cancer awareness and treatment.

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