08/31/2016 06:17 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2017

Gene Wilder, Before He Was Dead

Comedy legend Gene Wilder passed away on August 28th 2016. He was a man known for his impeccable comedic timing. Gene was an icon who brought a whimsical weirdness to every one of his roles. It's undeniable that his performance in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is one of the best ever put to film, and it still resonates today. After all, it was this performance as the manic candy baron pretty much began the meme as we know it.

Wilder kept his Alzheimer's disease secret. He was afraid the news of his illness would upset his fans, and he was especially concerned about the young children who knew him as Willy Wonka.

His acting in Young Frankenstein is praised as one of the best comedic performances of all time and earned him an academy award nomination for best writing. The man behind Wonka proved that his manic tenderness and quiet could prevail no matter the setting. It was something he was painfully aware of, as he told Time Magazine in 1970, "My quiet exterior used to be a mask for hysteria. After seven years of analysis, it just became a habit."

Despite the hysteria, Wilder was iconic. So for those of you who don't know enough about the wonderfully weird and impossible to imitate actor, now is your chance to catch up. Michael McCrudden has compiled an incredible video on who Gene Wilder was before he was dead.

Here's to a man who lived with pure imagination, rest in peace Gene Wilder.

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