Comedy legend passes at 83


We all know the meme, and we all know the movie “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” in which a semi- deranged candy maker picks off chil- dren one by one in an attempt to find the one child to whom he will pass on the keys to his kingdom. It was Gene Wilder’s most iconic role and one of the most quoted – and often imitated – character portrayals of all time.

This, however, was not Gene Wild- er’s only film appearance. Consider “The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother,” the movie in which Wilder played Sigerson Holmes, the younger and lesser-known brother of Sherlock Holmes.

One recurring genre throughout Wilder’s filmography is the comedy. According to an NPR story on Wild- er, he learned very early how to make his mother laugh, and from there he would move on to audiences.

Wilder told NPR about his comedic origins in a 2005 interview.

“When Gene Wilder was 8 years old, his mother had a heart attack — and he took it upon himself to try to cheer her up. “It was the first time I ever tried consciously to make someone else laugh,” Wilder said. “And when I was successful, after peeing in her pants, she’d say, ‘Oh, Jerry, now look what you’ve made me do,’ ”

Wilder began a working relationship with producer, director and actor Mel Brooks who gave the world “Blazing Saddles,” “The Producer,” and “Young Frankenstein”.

Wilder will continue to inspire comedians, actors and filmmakers well into the future, and if anyone says otherwise- “Good day, sir. I said, good day!”