Gene Wilder dies at 83

Gene Wilder in Amsterdam, 1978.

Gene Wilder in Amsterdam, 1978. Photo: Hans Peters / Anefo

Gene Wilder has died aged 83, well known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in the classic film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

He was nominated for two Oscars and starred in other classic films such as The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer's disease.  

His nephew 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."

We will miss him and forever remember his talent.



Gene Wilder performing 'Pure Imagination':


Gene Wilder performing 'Puttin' on the Ritz':



Gene Wilder sat down with Robert Osborne at 92Y in 2013 for a rare public appearance:


Wonka's funniest lines:



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