“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”: A Remembrance of the Late Gene Wilder

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”: A Remembrance of the Late Gene Wilder

Connor Harding, Editor-in-Chief

Almost every HHS student has grown up with a memory of the WIlly Wonka movie version which starred a comic legend who is now no longer with us.  2016 most recently brought the death of this Hollywood giant.  Gene Wilder was a man, a myth, and a legend amongst his peers in the 1970’s, and a significant role model to uprising talents of the modern era.

Wilder was born on June 11, 1933, in the middle of the Great Depression, to two moderately poor but loving parents. Times were tough, and most people were hardened by the harsh conditions they were forced to endure. However, according to online sources, having such a difficult early life served only to humble Wilder, and instead of letting all of the dark reality around him dampen his optimism, Wilder decided to laugh it all off instead. This can-do, humorous, radiant personality helped Wilder to find success in the most competitive atmosphere arguably on the whole planet, Hollywood, California.

Starting at the rather late age of 34, Wilder began his journey through film history in a moderately substantial flick entitled The Producers, where he played simple accountant named Leo Bloom. The film enjoyed fair success and gave Wilder the opportunity to find and perform in part after part until he found the role which would truly define his lifelong legacy.  In 1971, Gene Wilder was accepted and hired for the role of a Mr. Willy Wonka in an upcoming film adaptation of a classic Ronald Dahl novel. The release of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory  was a smash hit, and provided Wilder with his own golden ticket to absolute stardom and insurmountable fame.

The rest, as they say, is history. One hit movie after another, the highly acclaimed actor came through like a rolling thunder and took the whole comic movie industry by storm for nearly two decades without ceasing.  Movies like Blazing Saddles,  Alice in Wonderland,  Silver Streak, and Young Frankenstein cemented Wilder’s career and fame. There was no stopping Wilder in his prime; his unique brand of comedy and lighthearted acting formed a truly unique style that many actors and comedians still draw inspiration from today.

Sadly, as he grew older, Wider starred in fewer and fewer films.  His final film appearance was in 2005’s Expo: Magic of the White City. He spent his last years quietly, enjoying all of the benefits a millionaire comedic actor can enjoy. He passed away on August 29th of this year, leaving behind a certain void in all our hearts that rivals that instilled by Robin William’s passing. The  movie industry will never be the same without this monolith of talent and jovial humor. So until next time Gene Wilder, I suppose that we will see you somewhere in a “world of pure imagination.”