Gene Wilder, was an American film and theater comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author.
He began his career on stage, and made his screen debut in an episode of the TV series The Play of the Week in 1961. Wilder’s first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
On August 29, 2016, the world lost a great comedic talent. Gene Wilder had been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, but chose to keep his illness private until after his death. His nephew explains why in the statement below:
‘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.
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 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 company of beloved ones.’
What do you think of Gene Wilder’s reason behind waiting to announce that he suffered from Alzheimer’s until after he passed away? Do you think he did right to help keep kids smiling? Use the comments section below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!