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Gene Wilder RIP
Gene Wilder 1933 - 2016

One of the most versatille Hollywood actors, the much-loved Gene Wilder, has died at the age of 83, bringing a remarkable life to its close. Although he could turn his acting talents to parts as diverse as Willy Wonka, the neurotic accountant in The Producers,  a Frankenstien variant, a cowboy in Blazing Saddles, a prison inmate or a man who falls in love with a sheep (ewe) his style was instantly recognisable. It wasn't just visual, with the "shocked" hair and bulging eyes, it was also a real feeling for the character in the role, and frequently the mishaps that befell him. And although he will rightly be remembered for his numerous comedy roles, he was equally capable of more serious acting roles, and showed this in live theatre on Broadway. As he claimed for himself: "I'm an actor, not a clown". Wilder was renowned in several movie partnerships, with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor for example, but had almost instant chemistry with whoever he appeared alongside. His Oscar-nominated role in The Producers brilliantly showcased his frenetic, almost manic, interpretations of insecurity and anxiety to comic effect, and was the perfect foil for the arch-clown Zero Mostel. Along the way, he managed to fit in some scriptwriting, screenplay adapting and even directing, but his screen presence will be his abiding legacy. In a tribute, Mel Brooks paid homage to Wilder's "magic" as a performer, and it's undeniable that his unique contribution to the movie industry will always be remembered with reverence.


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