BEACON TRANSCRIPT – This week Hollywood lost another great actor as Gene Wilder said his final goodbye. The actor best known for his role in Willy Wonk and the Chocolate Factory was reclusive in his last years due to an illness that affected his cognitive capacity.
Gene Wilder was one of the masters of old-school comedy, a usual appearance next to Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, and other stars of the generation.
Three years ago, during an interview with Robert Osborne, the host of Turner Classic Movies, Gene Wilder spoke about his lifetime career, the public’s perception of himself through the filter of his work, and the novelty Wilder brought to Willy Wonka’s character.
The interview in question would prove to be his last public appearance as his Alzheimer’s disease advanced and the actor refused to show the fans an image of a defeated star.
Gene Wilder Was Not That Funny
According to the interview, Wilder didn’t think of himself as being a funny person. While he did do a splendid job in portraying comic characters, the actor was not one to make a full room burst in laughter with the use of a single witty anecdote.
“I make my life laugh once or twice in the house, but nothing special,” he carried out by saying “I don’t think I’m that funny. I think I can be in the movies.”
He Didn’t Appreciate Swearing
When asked about the reason behind his long absence from big and small screens alike, Gene Wilder responded that he would have gladly accepted roles in movies if it weren’t for all the swearing. The actor was not that picky; he just wanted to work with a good script that didn’t involve bombing, loud noises, and swearing.
According to him, those kinds of movies, including 3D films, were not suited for his skills, so the actor preferred to wait for the right role, rather than to star in something that did not go along with his principles.
“If you go to some movies, can’t they just stop and talk, instead of swearing? That put me off a lot.”
He Created the Mystery of Willy Wonka
When asked about his iconic role in Roald Dahl’s adaptation, Gene Wilder declared that he felt like something was amiss with the original screenplay, so he came up with an original idea:
“I wanted to come out with a cane, come down slowly, have it stick into one of the bricks, get up, fall over, roll around, and they all laugh and applaud. The director asked, ‘What do you want to do that for?’ I said because from that time on, no one will know if lying or telling the truth.”
Gene Wilder was pronounced dead Monday morning at his house in Stamford. The actor was 83 years old.
Image source: Wikipedia