Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gene Wilder RIP!

We were sad to hear of legendary film star Gene Wilder's passing yesterday.

Wilder had many connections to The Muppets. 

Before he had even met first wife Gila Radner, she was guest on The Muppet Show:

Mel Brooks, his frequent collaborator on films such as The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein, had a cameo in The Muppet Movie.

As did Richard Pryor, who worked with Gene on the films Stir Crazy, Silver Streak,  See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Another You.

Marty Felman, his friend and Young Frankenstein and The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother costar was also guest on The Muppet Show.

Wilder himself worked with Jim Henson's Creature Shop in the 1999 TV movie Alice in Wonderland where he played The Mock Turtle.

But by far his most notable connection to the Muppets was his titular role in 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory where he sang "Pure Imagination."

The song was later sung by Ben Vereen on The Muppet Show, and reused during a montage for The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 years special.

The Muppets performed the song again last year with Lindsey Stirling and Josh Groban:

But nothing will will ever beat the original:

Wilder was 83 and will be dearly missed. 

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