Gene Wilder has died the age of 83 and the world looks a little dimmer today.
Made famous by his legendary performance as Willy Wonka, Wilder, who died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, leaves behind wife Karen Boyer.
Read on for our facts on the life the two led together and Wilder’s love life over the years:
1. Boyer Worked In the Entertainment Industry
According to IMDb, Boyer worked in the entertainment industry, just like her husband. She worked as a costume designer and is also listed to be a speech-pathologist in her career.
Boyer’s latest costuming gig was as a wardrobe supervisor and the job was for The Drowning, which is currently in post-production.
2. Wilder Was Married Four Times
Boyer is Gene Wilder’s fourth wife. Prior to marrying Boyer, Wilder was married to Gilda Radner, Mary Mercier and Mary Joan Schutz. Gilda Radner passed away from cancer and many recognize her from her comedic role on Saturday Night Live.
After her death in 1989, Wilder dedicated a great amount of his time to cancer awareness and charity. When Radner died of ovarian cancer, Wilder became actively involved in founding the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda’s Club.
He married Boyer in 1991.
3. The Couple Met While Wilder Was Preparing for a Film
Famous Fix reports that Wilder met Boyer in 1988 while he was preparing for his role as a deaf man in the film See No Evil, Hear No Evil. At the time, Boyer was working as a clinical supervisor for the New York League for the Hard of Hearing and was helping Wilder learn more about lip reading. Telegraph reports Wilder as saying:
She was trying to get a research grant for a video cassette to help people who are losing their hearing. ‘Would you help me?’ she asked. I said, ‘Sure’ and forgot about it. The October after Gilda died I got a call from her. She sent me all this material and I said, ‘This is so technical you must get some humour into it,’ so she came to see me with her tape recorder. She would encourage me to improvise and, pretty soon, a script emerged. After the 5th or 6th visit I asked her if she would like to go out to dinner.
Gilda is Wilder’s late wife and comedienne.
4. Boyer Had Given Up On Marriage Before Wilder
When asked if Boyer tried to pursue Wilder, Boyer told Telegraph:
No, by the time I met Gene I had given up and decided marriage just wasn’t going to happen to me.
After Wilder’s wife Radner had passed away, he eventually came to realize that he needed to move on with his life, explaining:
For years I have thought about Gilda and cancer every day. The time has come for me to rejoin the human race … I am happier than I have ever been, thanks to Karen.
5. The Couple Resided In Connecticut, Where Wilder Died on Monday
Wilder shared a home in Stamford, Connecticut with his late wife Radner and went on to share the house with wife Boyer. The house is a 1734 Colonial home and it is the place of Wilder’s passing. Here, he died today, August 29, 2016, after suffering complications from Alzheimer’s disease.