Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) Dies Aged 83

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Gene Wilder starred in classics such as Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Though he was most well-known to younger generations as the kooky treat maker in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much-loved children’s book.

Wilder’s nephew said Monday that the actor and writer died earlier this month in Stamford, Connecticut from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Wilder, a presence in some of the funniest movies of the 1970s and ’80s with his kinky curls and startled blue eyes, had battled privately with Alzheimer’s   for the past three years, the statement said.wonka

Besides his classic collaborations with Brooks, Wilder paired memorably with comedian Richard Pryor in hits Silver Streak and Stir Crazy. Wilder also was active in promoting ovarian cancer awareness and treatment after his wife, Saturday Night Live comic Gilda Radner, whom he married in 1984, died of the disease in 1989.

He helped found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founded Gilda’s Club, a support group that has branches throughout the country.


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