Comic genius Gene Wilder has died at the age of 83. While illness kept Wilder out of the public eye and off-screen for years, his legacy was long ago cemented into future comedy canon to be revered by peers and viewers alike.
Wilder’s collaborations with famed director Mel Brooks in films like Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), and The Producers (1968) — the latter earning Wilder a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 41st Academy Awards — drew critical acclaim.
But he might be best remembered as the wild and irreverent chocolate czar from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in 1971. Wilder and fellow comedic legend Richard Pryor would work together in several comedies over the course of 15 years; Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991).
Following his retirement from acting in 2003, Wilder turned his creativity toward writing, penning his memoir — Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art — in 2005. Several novels followed: My French Whore (2007), The Woman Who Wouldn’t (2008) and Something to Remember You By (2013), along with What Is This Thing Called Love?, a book of short stories published in 2010.
A life of comedy and writing as esteemed as Wilder’s will leave any list of memorable quotes lacking, as “we have so much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.”
Thank you, Gene Wilder.
“We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams.” – Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
“But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted… He lived happily ever after.” – Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
“If the good lord intended us to walk, he never would’ve invented roller skates.” – Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
“Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.” – Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
“Invention, my dear friends, is 93 percent perspiration, 6 percent electricity, 4 percent evaporation and 2 percent butterscotch ripple.” – Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
“The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!” – Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
“I’m not going to the toilet, I’m going to showbiz!” – Leo Bloom, The Producers
“I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille.” -Jim, Blazing Saddles
“Oh no, don’t do that, don’t do that. If you shoot him, you’ll just make him mad.” -Jim, Blazing Saddles
“From the very first day when filthy bits of slime crawled out of the sea and called to the stars ‘I am man,’ our greatest dread has always been the knowledge of our mortality. But tonight, we will hurl the gauntlet of science into the frightful face of death itself. Tonight, we shall ascend into the heavens! We shall mock the earthquake! We shall command the thunders and PENETRATE THE VERY WOMB OF IMPERVIOUS NATURE HERSELF!” – Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein
“I never thought of it as God. I didn’t know what to call it. I don’t believe in devils, but demons I do because everyone at one time or another has some kind of a demon, even if you call it by another name, that drives them.” – Gene Wilder
“If you’re not gonna tell the truth, then why start talking?” – Gene Wilder
“That’s all I wanted: for someone to look at me and listen to me, but in some beautiful and artistic way.” – Gene Wilder
“On stage or in the movies I could do whatever I wanted to. I was free.” – Gene Wilder
“I’m funny on camera sometimes. In life, once in a while. Once in a while.” – Gene Wilder