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Entertainment

Gene Wilder, star of 'Willy Wonka,' dead at 83

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Entertainment

Gene Wilder, star of 'Willy Wonka,' dead at 83

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COMING UP:Gene Wilder, star of 'Willy Wonka,' dead at 83

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Legendary comic-actor Gene Wilder, star of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Young Frankenstein, died Monday at the age of 83.>> Life, do you hear me?>> His family saying in a statement that Wilder died at his home in Stamford, Connecticut from complications of Alzheimer's disease. Wilder made his big screen debut in 1967 with a small but scene stealing role in Bonnie and Clyde.
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A year later, he was Leo Bloom in The Producers, the first film directed by Mel Brooks, who would later direct Wilder in the classic comedy, Blazing Saddles.>> I wouldn't do that if I were you.>> And again in Young Frankenstein, which Wilder co-wrote.>> It's the movie that makes me laugh the most.
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It's the movie that I think, even though it was outrageous comedy, I think I gave one of my best performances in.>> Brooks tweeting, quote, Gene Wilder, one of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic, and he blessed me with his friendship.
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>> I don't think I'm gonna make it.>> Wilder was also known for his chemistry with comedian Richard Pryor in four movies, most notably in the hit, Stir Crazy. He was also active in promoting ovarian cancer awareness after his wife, Gilda Radner, died from the disease in 1989.
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He was later married to Karen Boyer, a hearing specialist who coached him during the filming of See No Evil, Hear No Evil, in which his character was deaf, Pryor's was blind. Wilder's nephew said the iconic performer chose to keep his Alzheimer's disease a secret so that children who knew him as Willie Wonka would not associate the character with an adult disease.
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