There are still four months left in 2016 and I worry how many more of our favorite actors the grim reaper will take from us. Today brings the sad news of Gene Wilder's passing at the age of 83.
Wilder will probably be best remembered for his comedic pairings with Mel Brooks, who first cast the actor in The Producers, earning an Oscar nomination for his performance. They would go on to work together twice more on Blazing Saddles, a defining movie for yours truly, and Young Frankenstein, which may be Wilder's funniest performance of his career. It earned him an Oscar nomination, as well, for the screenplay he wrote with Brooks.
Of course, his most memorable role will be as the titular candy maker in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, about as defining a role as one can think of. Johnny Depp never stood a chance trying to fill his shoes. I was also especially fond of the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor tandem in Stir Crazy and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. His talents extended behind the camera where he tackled other comedy classics such as The Woman in Red, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, and Haunted Honeymoon.
Wilder hasn't been in a major feature film since 1991's Another You, the final lead role for both himself and Richard Pryor.