Gene Wilder – star of such classic films as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein – passed away on Sunday night due to complications stemming from Alzheimers, a disease he had been suffering from for about three years. In the hours since the announcement fans from around the world and admirers throughout show business have been tweeting and commenting about Wilder’s iconic career.
As many know, Wilder’s “technicolor” love of his life was fellow comedic genius and 80’s star Gilda Radner. She died in 1989 from ovarian cancer that she had fought for multiple years before finally succumbing to her illness. In response to losing Gilda in such an unfair way, Wilder founded the Gilda Radner Ovarian Detection Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. in his late wife’s honor and then, in 1991, he wrote an essay for People detailing his grief and what the couple went through during Radner’s final days. Some of the passages are truly heartbreaking, made only slightly better by the thought that they might be together again somewhere now.