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Gene Wilder, 83, Of 'Blazing Saddles,' 'Willy Wonka' Dies At Stamford Home

Actor Gene Wilder, 83, of Stamford died on Sunday, according to an announcement by his family.
Actor Gene Wilder, 83, of Stamford died on Sunday, according to an announcement by his family. Photo Credit:

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford resident Gene Wilder, who appeared in "Blazing Saddles" and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," among other films, died Monday from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.

Wilder lived on Scofieldtown Road in Stamford, and made annual appearances at The Avon in Stamford. He lived with his wife of 25 years, Karen Boyer. He was married to Gilda Radner 1984-89. Radner, a former star of Saturday Night Live, died at age 42 of ovarian cancer.

Wilder's other movies included “The Producers,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “Stir Crazy,. He earned two Oscar nominations, including one for his role in "The Producers" and for co-authoring "Young Frankenstein" with Mel Brooks.

"Gene Wilder was a legend, who brought joy to many. He was a longtime CT resident & worldwide icon. He will be missed," Gov. Dannel Malloy said via Twitter.

Wilder was devastated by Radner’s death from ovarian cancer in 1989 and worked infrequently after that. Het tried a brief sitcom in 1994, “Something Wilder,” and won an Emmy in 2003 for a guest role on “Will & Grace.”

He was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee on June 11, 1933. He adopted "Gene Wilder" for his professional name at the age of 26, later explaining, "I had always liked Gene because of Thomas Wolfe's character Eugene Gant in Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River. And I was always a great admirer of Thornton Wilder,'' according to Wikipedia.

Before Radner, Wilder was married to the actress-playwright Mary Mercier and Mary Joan Schutz.

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