Tributes Pour In For Gene Wilder Who Has Died Aged 83

Carla Harmon
August 30, 2016

Gene Wilder, the star of such comedy classics as Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, has died.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease three years ago but didn't make the news public because he "simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world", said his family.

Corden also said the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory star came backstage after the show, and they chatted for half an hour, a memory that Corden said will stick with him for a lifetime. "The director asked, 'What do you want to do that for?' I said because from that time on, no one will know if lying or telling the truth". In "Young Frankenstein", on which Wilder collaborated on the screenplay with Brooks, the actor played a young surgeon attempting to live down his notorious ancestor when he inherits the family castle in Transylvania. "Except in a comedy in films", Wilder said. "If something comes along that's really good, and I think I'd be good for it, I'd be happy to do it".

"Thanks for all the laughs, Gene Wilder". Wilder wasn't a prolific actor, appearing in only about "15 or 18 films" by his own reckoning-and dropping out of the movie business nearly entirely for the past two decades.

The actor, who died on Sunday aged 83, attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 1955 while he was still chasing his career in the industry. In 1961 he became a member of the Actors Studio in NY, studying with Lee Strasberg. He won the Clarence Derwent Award, given to promising newcomers, for the Broadway work in Graham Greene's comedy "The Complaisant Lover". A key break came when he co-starred with Anne Bancroft in Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage" in 1963.

A few years later, Brooks cast Wilder in "The Producers", for which Wilder was nominated for a supporting actor Academy Award. On Monday afternoon, Brooks posted to Twitter about Wilder, calling him: "One of the truly great talents of our time". He also directed 1984's "The Woman in Red" and 1986's "Haunted Honeymoon", which he also co-wrote.

"He was compassionate and inspirational and poetic as a director", Kane recalled. "One of my greatest heroes". He told interviewer Robert Osborne in 2013, "I don't think I'm that amusing", and said, "I'll make my wife laugh once or twice in the house, but [I'm] nothing special".

Wilder was the most emotionally satisfying part of a very you-have-to-be-stoned-to-get-it 1974 musical adaptation of The Little Prince. In the film, Wilder played a neurotic accountant caught up in a scheme to create a theatrical production meant to fail that becomes an accidental hit.

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