Willy Wonka Actor Gene Wilder Dies

Actor Gene Wilder, who starred in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has died at the age of 83.

Wilder, who also starred in classic comedies Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Stir Crazy, died on Sunday night in Stamford, Connecticut.

His nephew said the film legend was suffering from complications from Alzheimer's disease.

In a statement to Variety, his nephew said the illness "never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality". 

He said the decision to delay disclosing his condition was because: "He simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world."

The frizzy-haired actor - who tended to play neurotic characters caught up in madcap schemes - was twice Oscar nominated, for his role in The Producers, a Mel Brooks comedy. 

In 1971, he assumed the role of Willy Wonka, one of his most beloved characters, which became a children's favourite. 

In 1974 he starred in two other Brooks comedies, Western spoof Blazing Saddles and gothic horror spoof, Young Frankenstein.

He co-starred with Richard Pryor in 1980 prison comedy Stir Crazy, which was a global box office smash.

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