Yesterday the sad news broke that Gene Wilder, legendary actor of stage and screen, had passed away at the age of 83. I freely admit I did not see many of the films that he starred in, but what I did see, I loved.
The first film I remember seeing him in is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and I will forever love his performance as the eccentric candy man. In fact, I sat and watched it performance of “Pure Imagination” and it made me really sad (because I forgot how amazing that scene was).
We’ll not see his like again
I had seen his work in Blazing Saddles (when I was too young to properly appreciate it), but the performance I really came to love him for was his role as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (that’s “Fronkensteen”), the grandson of THE Dr. Frankenstein, in the Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein. That film is a brilliant parody of the classic Universal horror films (it’s even shot in black and white) and features a command performance from Gene Wilder. If you haven’t seen any of his films, I highly suggest starting with that one.
It’s true that very few people could portray panic/crazy on screen quite like he could, I don’t think they make actors like him anymore. The world is suddenly a lot less funny now that he is gone. Rest in peace Gene Wilder, you are sorely missed.