Gene Wilder, aka Willy Wonka, lives on through your favorite meme
On-screen legend Gene Wilder has died at 83, leaving a legacy for Gen X and Millennials alike. He passed at his home in Stamford, Conn. from complications of Alzheimer's disease.
At the peak of his career in the 70s, Wilder was a comedic legend. From starring in classics like Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, to playing the weird and wonderful Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, his on-screen performances were widely loved and celebrated. So much so, in fact, that a screen shot from his role as Willy Wonka was turned into a meme a few years back.
Sarcastic and zany, the Condescending Wonka meme became everyone's favorite. Since its creation, thousands of images and gifs expressing sarcasm have surfaced.
Celebrities, friends, and fans all took to Twitter to celebrate Wilder's life.
Gene Wilder-One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.
— Mel Brooks (@MelBrooks) August 29, 2016
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) August 29, 2016
— C. Jane Kendrick (@CJaneKendrick) August 30, 2016
RIP Gene Wilder. Immortalised by his talent and makers of condescending Wonka memes for eternity. pic.twitter.com/jJSzZgNQsi
— Eoghan McDermott (@eoghanmcdermo) August 29, 2016
Gene Wilder acted at a different frequency than any other. He was always a moment away from tenderness or hysteria. What an original.
— alan tudyk (@AlanTudyk) August 29, 2016
He was always able to make us smile, and that is no small feat. Rest with the stars, Gene Wilder. pic.twitter.com/kxis66bIGd
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 29, 2016
Wilder's nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, explained that his illness was not kept a secret due to pride or vanity, but simply for the sake of his fans' happiness.
"He simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world."
— Anthony L. Fisher (@anthonyLfisher) August 29, 2016
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Christina is a freelance writer from a tiny town in Southern Maryland who just can't seem to figure out whether others are being sarcastic or not. She has a degree in business communication, with a focus in writing, from Stevenson University, and has written things for Severna Park Voice, Maryland Film Festival, The Villager, and Hello Giggles. Follow her on twitter @tinaBUFF where she constantly overthinks her tweets, or read her medley of musings at touchinfinity.wordpress.com.