Gene Wilder Dies at 83: Late Actor's Best 5 Roles

PHOTO: American actor Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory," directed by Mel Stuart, 1971. PlaySilver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
WATCH Legendary Actor Gene Wilder Dies at 83

The beloved actor Gene Wilder passed away today at the age of 83, leaving behind a rich, unforgettable legacy in Hollywood. In 1979, film critic Roger Ebert wrote, "at his own brand of complex vulnerability Gene Wilder has never been surpassed."

Here is a look at some of the late actor's greatest movie roles.

'Blazing Saddles'

This 1974 Western satire directed by Mel Brooks features Wilder as Jim, the "Waco Kid" in a town that gets its first black sheriff.

'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory'

In this 1971 classic, Wilder transforms into the iconic character of Willy Wonka, whose quotes and quirks have continued to puzzle and inspire people who watch the movie to this day.

'The Producers'

In this 1967 blockbuster written and directed by Brooks, Wilder plays Leo Bloom, a scheming accountant who works with a producer to make a terrible Broadway production in order to scam investors. Their scheme is foiled, however, when their terrible musical turns out to be a huge hit.

'Stir Crazy'

Wilder takes on the role of Skip Donahue in this 1980 comedy that follows two friends who head to California from New York only to be falsely accused of a bank robbery and sent to jail. It is in this Western jail, however, that Wilder's character discovers his talent for riding broncos and enters a prison rodeo.

'The Frisco Kid'

This 1979 film features one of Wilder's more obscure roles where he plays a Polish rabbi who befriends bank robber Tommy Lillard, played by Harrison Ford. For his role in this movie, film critic Roger Ebert wrote of Wilder, "What's poignant about the film is that Wilder's performance is such a nice one. He's likable, plucky, versatile. He is, in fact, as good an actor here as he's ever been before, and at his own brand of complex vulnerability Gene Wilder has never been surpassed."

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