Well, my name is Jim, but most people call me …………….. Jim.
2016 has been a year full of devastating celebrity losses. Today I found out another artist I greatly admired has left this earth. The star of Blazing Saddles, Silver Streak, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein, Gene Wilder has passed away. He was 83.
I was first introduced to Gene Wilder when my parents rented The Producers from Blockbuster one vacation on Cape Cod when I was a child. I found the film hysterical and was quoting Wilder’s “I’m wet!” manic scene for weeks. Then later in school I watched his iconic role as Willy Wonka and was scared, bemused and amazed by his acting in the film.
Although I have admittedly not seen every movie of his, including The Adventure of SHerlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother and Stir Crazy, I will always adore his roles in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (one of my favorite films of all time) and The Producers.
Gene Wilder always brought a sweetness to his roles, a quiet gentleness that made his hysterics and manic outbursts more surprising and hysterical. He seemed so unassuming and so kind on screen and off.
He was a true legend, and will always be remembered. Now, I believe, is a good time for me to revisit Young Frankenstein, and relive the happy memories Gene Wilder brought to so many.