Gene Wilder established himself as one of America’s foremost comic actors with his delightfully neurotic performances. On Monday, several news outlets reported that the star of classic comedies like “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” and several of Mel Brooks’ films, has died. He was 83.
His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman told the Associated Press that Wilder died late Sunday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at his home in Stamford, Connecticut.
The famed actor was best known for his collaborations with director Mel Brooks, starring as the stressed-out Leo Bloom in Brooks’ breakout 1967 film “The Producers,” and later in the monster movie spoof “Young Frankenstein.” But for many people, Wilder might be best remembered for “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” playing the mysterious candy tycoon in the 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book.
In a statement released to the press, Brooks called Wilder “one of the truly great talents of our time.”
“He blessed every film we did with his magic and he blessed me with his friendship,” Brooks wrote.
R.I.P. Gene Wilder.