Gene Wilder: Remembering a Legend
Gene Wilder is for many an icon of film – despite his acting roles having kind of dried up after a while. He has had a fair few great roles, including four films co-starring alongside the late great Richard Pryor and co-starring alongside Cleavon Little in the legendary Blazing Saddles, but what has made him an icon to this very day is his eponymous role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Released 35 years ago in 1971, Gene Wilder performed exemplary as Willy Wonka, the perhaps out-of-touch candy maker who runs his chocolate factory, inviting children who won the golden ticket into his factory. In turn and in tune, he and his Oompa Loompas taught quite harsh life lessons to many of these children after they demonstrated an inability to behave. Not only do adults these days look back on it fondly, so do children as the movie simply has not aged a day since release.
While it may be a sad day to see someone so important to our childhoods die, we must remember that Wilder lived a long and happy life having lived to be more than 80 years old. On top of that, he was able to become an icon of cinema, and for all of the attempts movie studios make to try and reinvent Willy Wonka as a film, ultimately Gene Wilder has simply set too high a bar.