Willy Wonka’s Gene Wilder Has Passed Away at 85

Gene Wilder, best known for his roles in notable films like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Young Frankenstein, has died. He was 85-years-old.

The iconic comedian passed away at his home in Stamford, Connecticut Monday. His nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s Disease.

“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,” Walker-Pearlman said in a statement. “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 elaborated, “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.”

He had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989.

To honor the great actor’s memory, we’re reminiscing on some of his best and most inspirational quotes. Check them out below. RIP Gene Wilder.

Gene Wilder’s Best & Most Inspirational Quotes


“On stage or in the movies I could do whatever I wanted to. I was free.”


“Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.”


“Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.”


“I never used to believe in fate. I used to think you make your own life and then you call it fate. That’s why I call it irony.”


“If the physical thing you’re doing is funny, you don’t have to act funny while doing it…Just be real and it will be funnier.”


“Which one of us, anywhere in the world, doesn’t yearn to be believed when the audience is watching?”


“The suspense is terrible… I hope it’ll last.”

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