Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Our Star-Lit World Can Hurt, Gene Wilder Gone

Rest in peace, 2016 stars departed. ©Mary Montague Sikes
Last night right before my Circuit Training Class, I was touched by the pain of another class member when she learned of the death of Gene Wilder. He was part of my childhood, she pointed out, on the verge of tears. She remembered his part in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Sadness was evident on her face every time I looked at her.

This morning, I saw a Facebook post from one of our daughters who is very angry with 2016 and so many losses. When I asked her why she was so sad, she said, "Gene Wilder died."

There have been many celebrity losses this year. Prince and Muhammad Ali were bigger than life characters. Patty Duke, Harper Lee--the list goes on and on.

I thought about these children, now adults, who have lived all their lives in the midst of Hollywood, sports, and other glitz and glamour figures. These celebrity icons perhaps mean more to our children than celebrity meant to those children who grew up with men fighting terrible battles during World War II. Electronics helped change everything. The entire 20th Century was a time of change. Gene Wilder was part of that.

It was fascinating to read that it was after his discharge from the Army and his award with a spot at the Actor's Studio that he took the name Gene Wilder. Gene was from the protagonist of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel, Eugene Gant; Wilder came from the playwright, Thornton Wilder.

He had several marriages, including one in 1984 to Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. In her memory, he helped found "Gilda's Club", a network of support centers for people with cancer.

The availability of so much celebrity information makes them live in our hearts. They become a part of our lives and live on forever in television reruns.

Our star-lit world can bring much hurt. Rest in peace, 2016 stars departed.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I grew up watching his films. He was an incredible actor. Favorite movie will always be Blazing Saddles. So sad he's gone, but he's finally with Gilda again.

Birgit said...

He was such an excellent actor and comedic actors never get their due when it comes to Oscars or any other award. Regardless, he was such a great talent and so funny and endearing. There have been many who passed this year especially in the music world. I loved Gene Wilder in Start the Revolution Without Me, blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - it's interesting about the deaths this year ... Bowie was the one which shocked me. But we get a chance to see how they created their talent and all the wonderful ideas, which they used so effectively ... as you say another one - I never quite got into the Gene Wilder mode ... but quite understand how many feel.

Cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

So many tragic deaths this year. Or maybe we are just more aware of them? The Internet does make us feel closer to them. I'll really miss Gene Wilder.

Arlee Bird said...

Gene Wilder was not particularly a forceful personality of pop culture as far as I can recall, but he made his mark in film history with some decent and fun films. I was never a big fan of Gene Wilder, but I didn't dislike him either. He always managed to entertain in a way that I would consider to be understatement. His films will have staying power.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out