Willy Wonka changed my life in more ways than I can probably mention. There was something so magical about that movie and now that magic will forever be encapsulated in my imagination and the imaginations of countless others. Gene Wilder was a force to be reckoned with. He didn’t just steal the show, he elevated it. He was something that comes along very rarely and deserves to be cherished when it does.
This statement from Wilder’s nephew sums up who was nicely:
“We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him “there’s Willy Wonka,” would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.
He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen. He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer, held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the the company of beloved ones.”
My favorite section of Willy Wonka had this line, “There’s no earthly way of knowing/Which direction they are going… There’s no knowing where they’re rowing…”
Up. He is rowing up. RIP sweet soul.