Following the news of Gene Wilder’s death on Sunday, the tributes from Hollywood have been pouring in. The latest star to remember the late icon, well-known for his role as Willy Wonka, is Cloris Leachman.
Leachman, who co-starred with Wilder in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein,” shared a statement with Deadline on Monday, in which she recalled working with the actor on the set of the comedy.
“Gene was in a class by himself,” she said. “I looked up to him, yet on the set he was just one of us.”
“I remember when we were shooting ‘Young Frankenstein’ there was a scene where I had to get the group up the stairs immediately. I had to say, ‘Shtay close to zee candles’ and turn toward him,” she continued. “As I turned around I could see his face was in two pieces. We had to do our scene 14 times over because he’d be laughing so hard. Alas, alas. So dear Gene, I vill say, ‘Goodnight.’”
Many other stars, including Harry Connick Jr. and Billy Crystal, also paid tribute to the late actor, who died due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 83, with touching notes on social media.