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Gene Wilder Dead: ‘Willy Wonka’ Star Dies at 83

Farewell to a movie legend. Gene Wilder, an actor known for roles such as the title character in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, died on Monday, August 29, at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. He was 83.

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Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka

The legendary comedic actor, who also starred in several Mel Brooks comedies, died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, his family confirmed to the Associated Press. Relive some of his greatest roles in the video above.

One of Wilder’s first roles was Leopold “Leo” Bloom in Brooks’ 1968 movie The Producers, a part for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He later collaborated again with Brooks, 90, on Young Frankenstein, earning his second Oscar nod for best adapted screenplay. (He cowrote and starred in the 1974 film.)

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Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder attends An Evening With Gene Wilder at the 92nd Street Y in 2013.

In 1971, Wilder played one of the most beloved movie characters of all time, Willy Wonka. His portrayal of the chocolate-factory-owning protagonist earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.

After the funnyman’s third wife, Saturday Night Live original cast member Gilda Radner, passed away from ovarian cancer in 1989, Wilder founded the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and began working to promote cancer awareness. (He was previously married to Mary Mercier and Mary Joan Schutz.)

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Wilder last acted on two episodes of NBC’s Will & Grace in 2002. His role as Mr. Stein, Will Truman’s (Eric McCormack) boss, earned him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor on a Comedy Series. He later contributed to a DVD release of Willy Wonka.

Wilder is survived by his fourth wife, Karen Boyer, who he married in 1991.

Christina Garibaldi and Ian Drew discussed all the latest during Us Weekly‘s Facebook Live News Update. Check it out!

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