Tuesday, August 30, 2016


The multitalented actor Gene Wilder has died, age 83, of complications related to Alzheimer's disease. I remember him best for his sad-eyed gaze, which sometimes didn't seem to match the tone of some of the comedies he starred in (viz. "The Frisco Kid," which paired him up with—of all people—Harrison Ford). And while I never found him the funniest man in the world, I appreciated the fact that he starred in plenty of funny movies. "Blazing Saddles" comes to mind, and so does "Young Frankenstein." He knew how to pick his vehicles.

Wilder's work spans five decades, but I can't say that I watched many of his films. I've seen bits and pieces of plenty of them: "Stir Crazy," "Silver Streak," and so on. I've never seen "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory"—shame on me (I did, however, see the Johnny Depp version). That said, I was sad for him when his wife Gilda Radner died of cancer; by all reports, he was a kind-hearted soul who was devastated by her loss. I can only hope that Mr. Wilder, whose gently manic style of comedy made him an icon, is in some better place now, bringing smiles to fellow travelers in the afterlife.

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