“Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three…”

Gene Wilder died this week.

While many members of my generation might not know who he is without some kind of reference, he helped to shape and mold the comedic world in the 1970s.

Wilder and Radner

Wilder and Radner

Wilder had not been in anything substantial for quite some time. The last time he was in a television show, it was in 2002 and 2003, when he guest-starred in “Will and Grace.”

It has been reported that he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, but no details were released.

As it should be — there are some things that should remain private.

The actor credited his parents with the comedic style he honed since the age of 6.

His desire to be funny had to do with a heart condition his mother had. The innocence of his characters he credited to his father.

Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in 1933. He created the identity of Gene Wilder through years of development to become the comedian we all loved.

But his life wasn’t all smiles and funny movies.

Wilde was married four times. The third time was to Gilda Radner.

Some call theirs a great love. The duo arguably were the funniest couple in Hollywood while they were together.

When she passed away in 1989, Wilder campaigned to make ovarian cancer, the cause of Radner’s death, better known and studied. He co-founded Gilda’s Club, a support group to raise awareness of the disease.

He also married once more and continued in his professional life.

“Well, you know, success is a terrible thing and a wonderful thing,” Wilder said in a 2002 interview with Larry King. “If you can enjoy it, it’s wonderful. If it starts eating away at you and they’re waiting for more from me, or what can I do to top this, then you’re in trouble. Just do what you love. That’s all I want to do.”

I like to think he did just that — only what he wanted, until he passed.

Here at Ark City Daily Bytes, our favorite Wilder movies are:

  • “The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother”
  • “Blazing Saddles”
  • “The Frisco Kid”
  • “Hanky Panky”
  • “Haunted Honeymoon”
  • “The Producers”
  • “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”
  • “Young Frankenstein”

“Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.”

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