Gene Wilder-One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.
— Mel Brooks, August 29th, 2016
Gene Wilder marked all our childhoods with his unforgettable performance as Willy Wonka. He seemed perfectly suited for Roald Dahl’s magical, troubling universe. His performance was inevitable and permanent: inevitable because it seems impossible that anyone else could have played the role or played it any other way, and permanent because the performance lives on, beyond the film’s run-time, in our imaginations.
Later, I discovered Wilder’s other work, where he again creates indelible moments of cinema: who can forget his curious look of love in Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask, or his nonchalance in Blazing Saddles, when he draws his gun so fast we don’t even see him move, or the sheer intensity he reaches in Young Frankenstein. Wilder’s work was unique, provocative and captivating, a true artist.
Most actors have either intensity or precision, only actors of the highest calibre have both and they are few, but Gene Wilder is one of them.