Gene Wilder Dead: Movies And Memoirs Of A Comic Icon
Gene Wilder is dead, though his movies and his impressive career will never die. He was one of the oldest comedic actors in cinema, having nabbed his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in his starring cinematic debut, Mel Brooks’ The Producers.
That was only the beginning for a man who would end up being irreplaceable. Even the once powerhouse combination of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton couldn’t make us forget him.
At the age of 11-years-old, Jerome Silberman (his birth name) had seen his sister acting on stage, and was instantly enthralled. He had approached her teacher and asked if he could be a student, to which the teacher agreed, but with a catch. Young Gene would still need to be interested when he turned 13. On June 11 of that year, Gene’s birthday, he’d called the teacher and was instantly taken as a student for two years.
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Gene Wilder’s movie career could have been dead when his mother sent him to a Hollywood military institute. He had been bullied and sexually assaulted, mostly due to being the only Jewish boy there. He’d given up on Black Foxe and returned home to get further into acting.
By the age of 15, Gene had played for a paying audience in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet. He’d graduated from Washington High School in Milwaukee, and the University of Iowa with a further education in Communication and Theater Arts, and moved to Bristol, England. There, he was a quick study and won a fencing championship.
People are sharing one of Gene Wilder’s last, brilliant moments on screen https://t.co/v5ZqfiwoKw
— The Independent (@Independent) August 30, 2016
Gene’s career took a few more detours, having worked odd jobs and landing a few roles in TV series such as Armstrong Circle Theatre and The Defenders (not based on the upcoming Marvel hero team).
Legendary comic actor Gene Wilder dead at 83 https://t.co/FHO0GiF9Is Sad to hear this. He was brilliant.
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) August 30, 2016
Gene Wilder eventually left TV shows behind him as he met a man we all know as Mel Brooks, and the two filmed three works of comedic genius. The Producers had him playing a nervous accountant before he took on the iconic role of Willy Wonka, a role which not even Johnny Depp could replace. His musical about children winning a chance to tour his chocolate factory became one of his most loved roles, even including a twist ending.
— Nefertiti Jáquez (@NefertitiWSB) August 29, 2016
The comic icon’s second outing with Mel Brooks gave us the wildly irreverent Blazing Saddles, a film which the director has called one of the best comedies ever made. The humor was incredibly racist, but not as offensive as others who would try something similar (Adam Sandler, for one).
Gene Wilder is dead? Well, 2016 continues its championship run towards “Worst Year Ever.” Frankly, we’ll be lucky to see 2017 at this rate.
— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) August 29, 2016
Far from dead, Gene Wilder’s acting career rose even further with Young Frankenstein, a parody of horror films in the Bela Lugosi era.
AP reports Gene Wilder is dead at the age of 83. Dammit, 2016.
RIP, Gene. Thanks for all the laughter.
— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) August 29, 2016
Though Gene had only worked with Mel Brooks three times, his presence was well known, and he was always a classic actor. He had even had his own TV series known as Something Wilder, where he played the role of Gene Bergman.
On August 29, 2016, Gene Wilder was found dead due to complications resulting from Alzheimer’s. The iconic actor will live on in the hearts of his fans, and in his movies where he gave us his best every time.
[Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images]