August 29, 2016


Gene Wilder, 'Willy Wonka' Star & Film Legend, Dead at 83

George Rose/Getty Images
George Rose/Getty Images

Gene Wilder, one of the most celebrated film stars of all time, has died at the age of 83, his family confirmed via AP. Nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman revealed the legendary actor passed away Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn., due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Walker-Pearlman shared in a statement:

"The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn't vanity, but more so that 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."

Wilder began his extensive career in Hollywood in the late '60s, with his first role as Eugene Grizzard in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde. He then went on to star in classic films like 1968's The Producers, 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and 1974's Young Frankenstein.

He received two Oscar nominations for his work, the first being for his role in The Producers and the second for co-penning the Young Frankenstein screenplay. Wilder also dabbled in television and Broadway (The Complaisant Lover, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dynamite Tonight) throughout his career.

Famed director Mel Brooks, who worked closely with Wilder on various films (Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein) honored his late friend upon hearing the news:

Remember the actor's greatest on-screen moments below: