movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Mon Aug 29 2016, 09:19pm | 2 comments
*Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory* is definitely one of the defining movies of my childhood.
I don’t remember discovering the guy until I was a teenager but still…
Blazing Saddles, The Producers, Bonnie and Clyde (he played the undertaker), Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy… He even managed to play a memorable part in movies that weren’t so good like Start the Revolution Without Me.
He will be missed.
Long, long ago, he was in a production of (possibly) The Lady’s Not for Burning on PBS, and I was enchanted with him. I wrote to the Dallas Morning News’ TV Q & A column to ask about him, and the reply was that he was a minor stage actor and there wasn’t much to know about him. I was miffed because he was obviously wonderful and had to be going places.
From his credits I can’t verify that appearance at all, but seeing that by then he had been in The Producers and was nominated for a supporting Oscar, I question my memory of the year, not to mention the columnist’s talents. In any case I was thrilled when he (to my mind) burst on the scene with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and subsequently made a string of really good, really funny, films. Nothing will ever surpass Young Frankenstein.
I felt really sad this morning when I heard that he died. I usually don’t mourn the passing of famous folks, preferring to celebrate them. But this time, I do feel sad. I’ll miss him.
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