‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ star, Gene Wilder has died at his home in Connecticut age 83. The cause of death has been reported as comlplications with Alzheimer’s Disease, which he had suffered privately for three years. The reason he kept his illness away from the public reflected his love for his fans, especially for the 1971 movie adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic. Wilder’s nephew, Jordan Wilder – Pearlman told the media:
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 troubleand causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion.
While I was born years after it’s release, I have seen ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ numerous times! As have my family. No matter how many times you see it, it never stops being magical and a very joyful watch. Wilder did a fantastic job portraying Willy Wonka as a lovable character – one that captured children’s hearts and imaginations, while also being a character that served as a moral tale to be kind, generous, forgiving, humble, as well as not being superficial. It also taught the magic of childhood – how it should be. And the magic of dreams… there was a lot of themes and morals, that remain relevant to all generations.
Social media has lit up with numerous tributes. Celebrities, including comedian, Stephen Fry and actor Mel Gibson have paid tribute, with reminisces and admiration to Wilder. Hashtag #genewilder and #pureimagination are currently trending Twitter.
There is no reports when or where a funeral will take place.
I know that ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ wasn’t the only film that Gene Wilder had been in, but it’s the only one I’ve seen. How many movies with Gene Wilder have you seen? What’s your favourite?