Comedian and actor Gene Wilder, best known for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Mel Brooks comedies, has died aged 83.
He died at his home in Connecticut, USA, from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was diagnosed with the disease three years ago, but kept the condition private.
Wilder started his acting career on the stage, but millions knew him from his work in the movies, especially his collaborations with Mel Brooks on The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.
“One of the truly great talents of our time,” Mel Brooks tweeted. “He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.”
But he epitomised Willy Wonka to millions of children the world over in the 1971 feature film.
He was close friends with Richard Pryor, co-starring in four films Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Another You.
His TV credits included Will and Grace, Alice in Wonderland, Something Wilder, Death of a Salesman, The Defenders, Eligible Dentist, The Lady in Question and Yo Gabba Gabba!
He went on to write several screenplays and direct several films. In 1982, while making the generally forgettable Hanky-Panky, he fell in love with co-star Gilda Radner. They were married in 1984, and co-starred in two Wilder-penned films: The Lady in Red and Haunted Honeymoon. Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989.