Gene Wilder was a legendary actor known for his iconic performances in films such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles. But when he passed away in 2016, it was revealed that he had been battling Alzheimer’s disease for three years prior to his death
. What shocked fans even more was the fact that he had kept his diagnosis a secret from everyone, including his closest friends and family.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Gene Wilder’s widow, Karen Boyer, revealed that her husband had chosen to keep his Alzheimer’s diagnosis private because he didn’t want people to feel sorry for him. He also didn’t want the public to see him as anything less than the funny, joyful person they knew him to be. In his own words, Wilder once said, “I don’t like the idea of people worrying about me. There’s too much pressure as it is.”
Despite his own struggles, Wilder remained committed to bringing joy to others. Karen Boyer shared a touching story about how, even in the early stages of his Alzheimer’s, Wilder would still make people laugh.
“We were in a restaurant and the waiter came over and asked, ‘How’s everything tasting?’ Gene looked up at him and said, ‘I have no idea. I can’t taste anything. I just eat for the texture,'” she recalled. “The waiter laughed and walked away. That was Gene. He couldn’t help but be funny.”
It’s clear that Wilder’s commitment to bringing joy to others went beyond his acting career. Even in his personal life, he made it his mission to put a smile on people’s faces. And he didn’t want his diagnosis to change that.
Wilder’s decision to keep his Alzheimer’s diagnosis a secret until his death has been met with mixed reactions. Some people argue that he had a right to keep his health issues private, while others feel that he could have used his platform to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of early diagnosis.
However, it’s important to remember that Wilder was more than just his diagnosis. He was a beloved actor, comedian, and philanthropist who brought laughter and joy to millions of people around the world. And by keeping his diagnosis private, he was able to continue doing what he loved most – making people smile.
In the end, Wilder’s decision to keep his Alzheimer’s a secret was a deeply personal one. And while it may be hard to understand why he made that choice, it’s important to respect it.
Wilder lived his life on his own terms, and he wouldn’t want us to remember him as anything other than the funny, joyful person he was.
As Wilder once said, “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” And even though he’s no longer with us, his legacy lives on through the countless smiles he brought to the world.