It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that Willy Wonka himself Gene Wilder has passed away at the age of 83 years old from complications arising from Alzheimer’s disease.
His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman noted that Wilder died Monday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut, USA.
His nephew said in a statement, “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.
He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen. He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer, held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the the company of beloved ones.”
Wilder starred in Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Stir Crazy, Silver Streak, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil amongst many other big films.
Wilder was married to Gilda Radner from 1984 until she passed away in 1989. He married again in 1991 to Karen Boyer.
He had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989.
Wilder is survived by a daughter, Katharine, whom he adopted in 1967 following his marriage to her mother Mary Joan Schute.
More as the story develops.