As most of you already know, comedian Gene Wilder died at the age of 83 yesterday. What you might not know are the circumstances surrounding his death.
The actor, most known for roles in movies including Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Young Frankenstein, passed away due to complications with Alzheimer’s disease. He’s been extremely confidential about having the disease, even though he’s been diagnosed with it for over three years. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman reveals the reasoning for hiding his serious condition.
“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… would not then be 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.”
Today, there are millions of less smiles in the world. But for years, Wilder’s exuberance, joy, and compassion made people smile everywhere. I guess one day of frowning is a small price to pay for the happiness Wilder brought people everywhere.
R.I.P. Willy Wonka, Frederick Frankenstein, and Gene Wilder. Thank you for the smiles you’ve given everyone.
Gene Wilder, 1933 – 2016
SOURCE: NPR, Associated Press