Gene Wilder, star of classic Hollywood comedies including Blazing Saddles and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, has died at the age of 83.
The two-time Academy Award nominee was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1989. A life well lived, few actors did more for services to comedy than Wilder.
A frequent collaborator with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor (their work in See No Evil, Hear No Evil should be essential viewing), his Oscar nods came for his role as Leo Bloom in 1968’s The Producers, then later for an adapted screenplay with 1974’s Young Frankenstein.
The actor’s last cinematic role came in 1991 comedy Another You, which once again saw him paired with his regular partner-in-crime Pryor - who himself would never appear on the big screen again. Although of course when it comes to one role Wilder will always be remembered for, it’s as the titular candy king in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, based on the Roald Dahl novel.
So, without further ado, and probably doing more to describe the joy he brought cinema-goers than we ever could, here's Wilder's unforgettable performance of Pure Imagination.
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