How Gene Wilder’s Sincere Ability to Share the Spotlight Made His Comedic Genius Shine Through

Vox critic-at-large Todd VanDerWerff has put together a beautiful piece that pays lovely tribute to the incredible talent and career of the late Gene Wilder, particularly noting that his generosity of spirit, his confidence and his ability to share the spotlight made his comedic genius shine through in whatever he did.

Wilder’s comedy wasn’t about hogging center stage. It was about finding a way to share it. In another highlight of his career, The Producers, his fever pitch is pretty … wild. That’s all because he’s signing onto co-star Zero Mostel’s plan. Hey, he’d even share the screen with a sheep. …Even in Wilder’s most over-the-top role, he was sharing the screen. He’s not exactly sharing the screen in the same way here. He dominates every scene he’s in, to the degree where the book — Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — had the name in its title swapped out for Willie Wonka. What’s interesting though is that he doesn’t show up until 45 minutes into this film. …Wilder didn’t write or direct that film, and he sat out almost the first half.It takes a certain kind of talent to still dominate people’s imaginations afterward. And, oh, did he.