Gene Wilder

Mel Brooks Leads Parade of Stars Mourning Loss of Gene Wilder

It was a sad day in Hollywood on Monday as the world learned that Gene Wilder, one of the most beloved comic actors of the ’70s and ’80s, had passed away at the age of 83.

The Jewish star, born Jerome Silberman and known for his roles in an array of classic films — from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” to “Young Frankenstein” to “Stir Crazy” — succumbed to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, which his family said he had suffered from for three years.

If the news itself doesn’t moisten your tear ducts, get this: Wilder’s nephew said in a statement that the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was playing in the room as the actor passed away.

Mel Brooks, the Jewish comedy legend who collaborated with Wilder in a series of comedic triumphs (“Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” and “The Producers,” in which he co-starred with Zero Mostel), was one of the first to react to the somber news in touching fashion.

But countless other celebrities (including several Jewish ones) also took to Twitter to pay heartfelt tributes to the actor once described by The New Yorker critic Pauline Kael as a “magnetic blur” who made barely controlled hysteria “his dazzling specialty.”

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Mel Brooks Leads Parade of Stars Mourning Loss of Gene Wilder

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close