RIP Gene Wilder: 5 Things To Know About The Death Of A Legend

Photo: Oubliette Magazine
Gene Wilder death

This one hurts.

Today, the world lost another icon in the realm of comedy. The Associated Press reported that actor Gene Wilder has passed away at the age of 83. Wilder is famously known for his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.

Born as Jerome Silberman, he was a man of many talents that not only included acting on film, but also on stage as well as screenwriting. Here are five things you need to know about the iconic actor's death:

1. He had Alzheimer's disease.


According to Variety, his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlmanc claimed that complications of Alzheimer's disease caused Wilder's death.

2. He wanted to keep his disease a secret.


This is a statement from his nephew:

"We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. 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 trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world."

3. In 1989, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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Cancer.org defines non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as "cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body's immune system." In this interview, Wilder talked about his disease. He was in complete remission in 2005.


4. He is survived by his fourth wife, Karen Boyer, and his nephew.


They married in 1991. His third wife Gilda Radner passed away in 1989 from ovarian cancer.

5. He leaves behind a legacy of memorable films and characters.


Although most remember him from Willy Wonka, Wilder played a wide plethora of memorable characters in memorable films such as Death of a Salesman, The Little Prince, Young Frankenstein, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Alice in Wonderland.

Mr. Wilder, thank you for fueling our imaginations and reminding us to laugh. You will be missed