Gene Wilder, star of ‘Willy Wonka,’ dead at 83

(CNN)Gene Wilder, who brought a wild-eyed desperation to a series of memorable and iconic comedy roles in the 1970s and 1980s, has died, his lawyer, Eric Weissmann, said.

He was 83.

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Wilder is best known for his collaborations with director Mel Brooks, starring as the stressed-out Leo Bloom in Brooks’ breakout 1967 film “The Producers,” and later in the monster movie spoof “Young Frankenstein.” He also portrayed a boozing gunslinger in “Blazing Saddles.”
For many people, Wilder might be best remembered for “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” playing the mysterious candy tycoon in the 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book.
In a statement to CNN on Monday, Brooks called 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,” Brooks wrote.
Wilder’s friends, co-workers and admirers were quick to pay tribute to the actor on Monday after the news of his death.
“Bless you for all these years of laughter and love, such warmth and humanity,” wrote film critic Leonard Maltin.
Debra Messing, former star of “Will & Grace,” a show on which Wilder guest-starred, said, “A man who lit up the world with his joy and genius. I can’t say what it meant to act with him and get to know his heart.”

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/29/entertainment/gene-wilder-dead/index.html

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