The magic of Gene Wilder


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Few film actors had the range or charisma of Gene Wilder, who died this week from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 83.

From his memorable debut as the hitchhiking undertaker in “Bonnie and Clyde” and key roles in great Mel Brooks films such as “Young Frankenstein,” to “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” Wilder’s humanity accentuated his comedic skills.

It also helped that Wilder worked with mentors and collaborators as talented as Zero Mostel, Cleavon Little, Madeline Kahn and Richard Pryor. The result was cinematic magic.

When “Saturday Night Live” star Gilda Radner, Wilder’s third wife, died of ovarian cancer in 1989, the actor helped establish the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in her honor. He was also instrumental in forming chapters of Gilda’s Club around the country to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

His entire body of work shows that he brought a luminous smile and a hint of pathos to every role.

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