Celebrities React to Gene Wilder’s Death

Gene Wilder Willy Wonka Dead
Courtesy of Paramount

News of actor Gene Wilder’s death spread quickly through Hollywood, with stars taking to Twitter to pay their respects to the comedy legend.

Wilder was best know for his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 big screen version of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” He had memorable roles in Mel Brooks’ films “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” and “Young Frankenstein.”

According to his nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, Wilder died from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 83 years old. Walker-Pearlman described his final moments:

“He was eighty-three and passed holding our hands with the same tenderness and love he exhibited as long as I can remember. As our hands clutched and he performed one last breath the music speaker, which was set to random, began to blare out one of his favorites: Ella Fitzgerald. There is a picture of he and Ella meeting at a London Bistro some years ago that are among each or cherished possessions. She was singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” as he was taken away.”

Read some of the touching tributes to the actor below.

Longtime collaborator Mel Brooks said he was “blessed” to work with Wilder.

Wilder also played Will Truman’s boss on “Will & Grace” in 2003, his last role. Actor Eric McCormack called him a “genius.”

Wilder’s “Sunday Lovers” costar Roger Moore reminisced:

Fellow comedians praised Wilder’s talent as well.

“Orange is the New Black” star Uzo Aduba called him “the genius” and “the talent” among many other accolades, sentiments other stars echoed:

Gene Wilder Life and Career in Photos

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  1. Abbie says:

    I know it’s late but rip , a hero is never lost! Always in my heart and memory

  2. He will forever be in our hearts and his antics forever in our minds. A true genius of comedy that no one could ever compete with. We will always miss the true excellence of everything he did to amaze us all. REST IN PEACE FOREVER IN YOUR FILMS AND IN THE MINDS OF ALL YOU ENTERTAINED!!

  3. ltx84152 says:

    My Uncle Jake got blue Lexus ES 350 Sedan by working parttime off of a computer

  4. ltx84152 says:

    my Aunty Isla just got a nearly new green Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML63 AMG by working

  5. I will truly miss you, absolutely one of my favorites, Gene Wilder was the Master of comedy, every single movie made me laugh so hard, you are number one, one of a kind, the world is sad today, I love you, Rest in peace

  6. James Sigrist says:

    Not enough people seem to know about “Start The Revolution Without Me.” This is one of Gene’s finest. A real side splitter. Also never mentioned is “The Scarecrow”. These are must see films of Gene.

  7. Larry Miller says:

    If God has sweetness and fullness and genius at the same time, he must look very much like Gene Wilder.

  8. Mjkbk says:

    Gene Wilder, I adored your work. May you RIP, dear sir.

    [And Variety……can you puhleeze hire writers with a professional command of English for your U.S. Edition? This is the second story in two days that said a celebrity was “best know” for this accomplishment or that one. Going down once, twice……three times and you’re out.]

  9. Free Thinker says:

    I love reading about Gene Wilder’s faith in God. I believe he’s in heaven. Message to atheists: Dismiss God at your own peril.

    • Bob says:

      Are you sure ‘Free thinker’ is an appropriate username for yourself? You don’t seem to be a free thinker at all, rather quite brainwashed.

  10. Bob says:

    Gene the Genius. “The Producers” and “Silver Streak” were two of my favorites. I didn’t realize till I saw the picture from “Willie Wonka” that Donald Trump is an Oompa Loompa!

  11. Ann says:

    How wonderful you were and here I sit with tears from sadness. During your career your talents brought tears from laughing. Thank you leaving shows for us to watch to turn bad days to good days.

  12. Joel Bross says:

    So sad, my army room mate 1957-1958. What fun. Sgt Joel Bross

  13. James M. says:

    Also had memorable roles in Mel Brooks movies? Jesus, you really know how to mitigate the impact of someone’s career. He starred in four indelible, incredibly important film classics, and also happened to star in one of the most beloved children’s films of all time. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget his work with Richard Pryor. But yeah, he had a few memorable roles.

  14. Mary Morris says:

    So very sad to hear of Gene Wilder’s passing! The world has lost yet another comic genius! We will miss you terribly! Thank you, Gene for leaving us with the memories and your wonderful films, my favorite being Young Frankenstein, but really all of them! Rest in Peace. See you in Heaven one day!

  15. michael says:

    He’s gone to be with his wife, Gilda Radner (1946-1989) who’s in Heaven waiting for him to be together for eternity.

  16. What a sad news! He was one of the funniest man on Earth.
    Thank you for the hours of good laughs and your talent Jerome Silberman aka GENE WILDER.
    Rest in Peace.
    Do you remember this particuliar scene? It cracks me up everytime.

    Doctor Frederik Fronkensteen: Gene Wilder / Igor: Marty Feldman

    Igor: Dr. Frankenstein…
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: “Fronkensteen.”
    Igor: You’re putting me on?!?
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: No, it’s pronounced “Fronkensteen.”
    Igor: Do you also say “Froaderick”?
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: No… “Frederick.”
    Igor: Well, why isn’t it “Froaderick Fronkensteen”?
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: It isn’t, it’s “Frederick Fronkensteen.”
    Igor: I see.
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: You must be Igor. [He pronounces it Ee-gor]
    Igor: No, it’s pronounced “eye-gor.”
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: But they told me it was “Ee-gor.”
    Igor: Well, they were wrong then, weren’t they?
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: You were sent by Herr Faulkstein, weren’t you?
    Igor: Yes, my grandfather used to work for your grandfather.
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: How nice!
    Igor: Of course the rates have gone up.
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Of course! Of course, I’m sure we’ll get along splendidly!…Oh! Sorry…I…Uh…You know I don’ mean to embarrasse you but I’m a rather brilliant surgeon…Perhaps I could help you with that hump..?
    Igor: What hump?
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: ….Let’s go!

  17. ira berger says:

    the man was a pure genius.we will all miss his talents.

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