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“Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.”

This has been a rough year for losing beloved celebrities. First David Bowie, then Prince, and now the amazing Gene Wilder has left us, too.

With a distinctive voice and a sparkle in his eye, he lit up the screen whenever he appeared. He starred in several of my all-time favorite movies, including two of Mel Brooks’s best, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. A friend of mine said that he “saved” Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I say he didn’t save that movie, he WAS that movie. And it, too, is one of my favorite films. I’ll never get tired of watching it.

Blazing Saddles cover art

Although he is best known for comedic roles, Wilder had impressive range. The tunnel scene in Willy Wonka still gives me chills. Take a look (and listen).

Did you know?: Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He studied fencing while in theater school. He wrote several books and screenplays. After the death of his third wife, Gilda Radner, to cancer, he co-founded a charity in her memory. If you want to know more about him as a person, check out this wonderful video of him talking about his life, his acting, and why he chose comedy.

He left us with plenty of good advice to remember. I love this quote about doing physical comedy, which encapsulates why he was so good. “If the physical thing you’re doing is funny, you don’t have to act funny while doing it… Just be real and it will be funnier.”

Gene Wilder was a truly unique actor, and it saddens me that he’s gone. I think the best way to remember him is to watch and enjoy his films. The library has plenty for you to choose from. Here are a few more that I haven’t mentioned yet:

We’re fortunate that he left us with some great performances to watch and re-watch. He can’t be replaced, and he won’t be forgotten. His contributions to film are legendary.

“Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.”


Remember Gene Wilder

Borrow one of his movies!

Megan is a Children’s Library Assistant at CLP – East Liberty. When she isn’t reading fantasy, magical realism and/or pretty much any children’s book, she enjoys gaming, watching movies and writing fiction, some of which has been published.

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