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Hollywood mourns the loss of comedy legend Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder in Hartford, Conn. on April 9, 2008.
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Gene Wilder, best known for his turn as Willy Wonka in the 1971 cult classic, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” as well as his comedic collaborations with the likes of Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks, has died at age 83, his family announced Monday. 

The loss of the actor caused an outpouring of appreciation among Hollywood’s elite, who took to Twitter to express their grief over the loss and to celebrate the performances that Wilder left as his legacy.

Director Mel Brooks, who worked with Wilder on “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein” (the latter of which earned them an Academy Award screenplay nomination), was one of the first to tweet about the passing of Wilder.

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https://twitter.com/MelBrooks/status/770347237280886784

Grief over Wilder’s death wasn’t limited just to those who worked with the comedian, as evidenced by messages from a number of actors, some of whom could be considered comedy legends in their own right.

https://twitter.com/stephenfry/status/770342173770338304
https://twitter.com/rickygervais/status/770343894777200641
https://twitter.com/TaranKillam/status/770344225699340288
https://twitter.com/UzoAduba/status/770345810710200321
https://twitter.com/AlbertBrooks/status/770348903946416128
https://twitter.com/russellcrowe/status/770347634397630464
https://twitter.com/billyeichner/status/770348417738379264
https://twitter.com/JulietteLewis/status/770347919463645184
https://twitter.com/EricMcCormack/status/770351449322561536
https://twitter.com/GeorgeTakei/status/770352315635232768

“Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn took to his Facebook page to write a loving tribute to Wilder, highlighting his childhood adoration of the man and his approachable on-screen persona.

So iconic was Wilder’s body of work that his influence touched those far beyond those involved in comedy and film, however. Musicians, journalists, even federal employees expressed their grief online. 

https://twitter.com/flea333/status/770350552370806784
https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/770341969293901824
https://twitter.com/ACNewman/status/770343312234393601
https://twitter.com/ditzkoff/status/770342193437544448
https://twitter.com/JRosenworcel/status/770349023144341510

But perhaps the most touching memorials of Wilder came from those who view his death as an opportunity for the actor to be reunited with late wife and comedy superstar Gilda Radner, who died in 1989 of ovarian cancer.

https://twitter.com/devincf/status/770341242714468353
https://twitter.com/ThePerezHilton/status/770348357403283456

libby.hill@latimes.com

Twitter: @midwestspitfire


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