The late, great Gene Wilder should be here celebrating his 88th birthday today, so fans are paying tribute to the actor on social media in remembrance. Truly, Wilder was a one-of-a-kind actor who will be always unforgettable to anyone who’s seen any of his performances. Whether that dates back to his frequent collaborations with comedy legends Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks to his starring role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Wilder has amassed fans all across the world.
On Twitter, Wilder’s name has recently begun trending as thousands of fans have been honoring him with tribute posts. That includes one touching tweet from a fan who wrote, “There will never be another Gene Wilder. What a national treasure he was. What a talent. What a wonderful, wonderful man who suffered through so much undeserved pain.”
“Gene Wilder. Man, he was my Willy Wonka,” says another fan. “He’s right about the mischievous eyes. In that role, he had them. And he was funny. And he was part of so many childhoods. Miss him.”
Including a wonderful image of Wilder posing with some Oompa-Loompas, another fan posted: “Happy Birthday to the greatest candy man and legendary performance as Willy Wonka and The Fox: GENE WILDER! Here with the Oompa-Loompas in The 50th Anniversary of David L. Wolper’s Technicolor musical production of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), A Paramount Picture.”
“Gene Wilder is one of the touchstone actors of my childhood,” writes another fan. “I cannot count the laughs he gave me, from Willy Wonka to Young Frankenstein to Sherlock Holmes’s Smarter brother. Happy Birthday to a legend.”
Recalling Wilder’s work with Richard Pryor, another person wrote, “Him and Pryer both made me p*ss my pants laughing more times then I can remember! To the [GOAT], happy bday! Mazel Tov to Gene Wilder, for an amazing career! Willy Wonka will forever be in our minds and hearts!”
And taking inspiration from Wilder to help make the world a better place, another fan said, “It’s not just Friday, It’s Gene Wilder’s Birthday today! Live today like he would, make somebody laugh if you feel so inclined. But grab it by the collar & squeeze the life out of it, however you choose to.”
Oddly enough, we’re just weeks away from the 50th anniversary of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, which is one of Wilder’s most popular movies of all. In honor of the occasion, Fathom Events has scheduled the classic movie’s return to select theaters, though it won’t be until August. The screening is a part of this year’s selection of the “TCM Big Screen Classics” lineup that Fathom has been offering this year. Tickets are currently on sale.
Of course, you don’t have to wait to watch the movie to honor Wilder’s birthday today. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is currently streaming on HBO Max. There are many other classics to choose from to help celebrate the occasion as well, whether that be Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Silver Streak, or something else. In any case, let us also join the fans in wishing a happy heavenly birthday to Gene Wilder! You can see many more tribute posts on Twitter.