When the Great Artists Pass


Over the years we have lost so many great talents in the world, some passing before their time. Each time another one passes, we lose a part of history and we lose a piece of our past. Even though we have film and music to remind us of some of the great talents like Gene Kelly, Paul Walker, Leonard Nimoy, David Bowie, John Wayne, Robin Williams, Prince, Merle Haggard, Kurt Cobain and so many more, we still miss seeing them on the red carpets and the big screen.

This week Gene Wilder passed away and took with him so much talent. May of us remember him as the husband of the great Gilda Radner. She was part of the Saturday Night Live era, with Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, John Belushi and Jane Curtain, and skits like “Land Shark” and “Coneheads”. One writer penned them the “Super Group” of Saturday Night Live. Memories we will have of these artists will always play back in our minds when someone says “Land Shark” or “Candy Gram.”
Gene Wilder, birth name Jerome Silberman, has created different memories for each person. Many of us will remember him for his part as Willy Wonka and one of his final quotes to Charlie, “But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted… He lived happily ever after.”Songs like “Pure Imagination” and dancing his way through the chocolate factory. 

“Blazing Saddles” was another classic Wilder was in with a cast of greats including Mel Brooks, Cleavon Little, Harvey Korman, Dom Deluise, Slim Pickens, Madaline Kahn, and many more. Wilder’s character was Jim and one of his famous lines was “What did you expect? ‘Welcome, sonny’? ‘Make yourself at home’? ‘Marry, my daughter’? You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.”
Gene played a man wrongly accused of committing a crime in five movies: Silver Streak (1976), The Frisco Kid (1979), Stir Crazy (1980), Hanky Panky (1982) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). Had starred with Richard Pryor in four movies: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) and Another You (1991). He also performed in The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Stir Crazy, Silver Streak, The Frisco Kid and so many more. His talent was endless and our memories of him will last forever.
As you pass by the TCM channel on your cable netword stop and watch an old movie to see who left their footprint on the world at that time. Movies like Casablanca, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will take you back in time and give you a glimpse of some of the great talent of our time.
Gene Wilder


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