“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams”
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka
Gene Wilder held a special place in many people’s hearts. He excelled in comedies but by his own admission he wasn’t very funny. Sure he could deliver a classically written Mel Brooks line flawlessly but Gene Wilder had another quality that made him brilliant. Mr. Wilder gave the impression of a highly empathetic person a quality which was rewarded by the audience by serving him empathy in return.
Perhaps we could identify with him at times. He often played characters who were trying desperately to fit into the norm but without much success. There was always a touch of melancholy in his characters. Even if we could not project ourselves into his role he left the viewer with that empathy. His characters may not end up on top, but we really wished he could find his way in the crazy world.
A caring thoughtful man, on-screen that persona seemed to carry over into his personal life as well. His marriage to Gilda Radner which ended in her tragic death of ovarian cancer and his continued work on her behalf comes to mind.
Gene Wilder lived a long life and left us with many great film and television performances. I am struck by my own selfish feelings of sadness by his passing. The world could really use more empathy and compassion today and with Gene Wilder leaving us has left the world a less magical and harsher world than when he was in it.