The film adaption of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" came out not too long before I was born and has long remained one of my favourite childhood movies. (The 1964 Roald Dahl book is quite likely one of the first fantasy-type books I read when I was learning to read on my own.) Its main character was a quirky, blue-eyed figure who made a teachable moment without sounding preachy. Perhaps I'm starting to sound my age but I much prefer these older style of imaginative stories that used real people and bright colours compared to a lot of the computer-generated pablum we see today. I never saw the 1995 remake of the original film and don't intend to.
At any rate, to get back on topic, I was quite saddened to hear of the death of Gene Wilder who will forever be known to me as Willy Wonka. While I know he did do other work and play other characters, for me at least, Willy Wonka was his defining role. As with the passing of a figure who was part of my childhood, I'll admit it was tough not shed a bit of a tear. Thoughts of oompah loompahs solemnly carrying his casket did bring a smile to my face and I'm sure Mr. Wilder would have seen the humour in that.
Thank you Mr. Wilder for being part of my childhood.