Gene Wilder was an extraordinary man.
He filled my childhood with endless rewatches of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – especially when I had a role in my year six play adaptation. That year I watched him over & over again, & it only reminds me of a year spent putting together that production with some of my closest friends.
When he first limped up that carpet as Willy Wonka only to fall out into a forward roll I instantly adored him. But perhaps the most special moment will be his performance of Pure Imagination – absolutely one of the most beautiful & iconic songs to come from cinema, & a song that will always make me emotional.
Blazing Saddles will always make me think of my family holidays, & The Producers is an absolute classic.
But I think mostly I will forever adore him for how hard Young Frankenstein makes my family laugh.
The countless quotes & evenings spent laughing, having to pause the DVD so we could finish our belly aching laughs & actually be able to pay attention to what was happening next. Being able to say just “Abby normal” or “destiny” to reduce my mother to tears laughing will always be wonderful. It was my first introduction to the Frankenstein story & none other, even the original, will top it in my eyes. Who else but Gene Wilder could have made Frankenstein’s monster in a tuxedo on a stage one of the most iconic moments in cinema history?
Gene Wilder was one of the most individual comedic talents of our time, & influential in his style of work.
He was remarkable. Just the statement from his family is enough to show you how beautiful a character he was:
Gene Wilder is a sad person to lose, but I will be forever grateful to the joy he brought to me, my family, & everyone in the world who smiled because of him.