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RIP Gene Wilder

WilderGene Wilder, loved by genre fans for his roles as Willy Wonka and Dr Frederick Frankenstein, has died aged 83.

Wilder came up with the idea of the Creature (played by Peter Boyle) and Frankenstein doing the Puttin’ on the Ritz dance for the Mel Brooks film.

“I looked at him and I knew in my heart there could only be one person who could play Willy Wonka,” Mel Stuart, who directed Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. “He walked to the elevator after he read and I ran after him and I said, ‘As far as I’m concerned, you’ve got it.’ ”

Gene Wilder was born in 1933 and prior to taking up acting worked in a psychiatric ward. He studied at the Actors’ Studio and had a successful stage career before going into films. He wrote and directed The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother and co-wrote Young Frankenstein with Mel Brooks, for which he received an Oscar nomination.


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