2016 has seen one pop culture hero after another sadly concede defeat to mortality, and this deeply depressing shitfest of a year has claimed another victim: Gene Wilder.
According to the AP (via THR), “Wilder’s nephew said Monday that the actor died this month in Stamford, Conn. from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. In 1999, Wilder was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and treated with radiation and stem cell transplants.”
The star of The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka and so many Richard Pryor buddy movies is gone, but his work will live on for ages, simultaneously scaring and delighting kids who happen upon Willy Wonka and amusing comedy nerds with an affinity for Mel Brooks.
Now feels like the perfect time to take a deeper dive into Wilder’s filmography and unearth some overlooked gems, which is exactly what I intend to do. At this exact moment, though, I’m remembering “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonk, and raising my first in the air to shake it at the heavens and impotently scream, “Screw you, 2016!”
Source: For a full obituary, check THR.