10 Gene Wilder Quotes to Remember the Willy Wonka Star

UPDATED: July 31, 2018
PUBLISHED: August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder was full of charisma, charm and incredible wit. A talented and amusing actor, he led viewers down a path of adventure in some of the most well-received movies of the ‘70s, such as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Young Frankenstein. Wilder died Aug. 29, 2016 in Stamford, Connecticut at 83. While he was comedic on screen, his perseverance during tragedy in his childhood and the death of his third wife are a testament to his strength. In celebration of his legacy, here are 10 quotes from the great actor.


1. “I never used to believe in fate. I used to think you make your own life and then you call it fate. That’s why I call it irony.”

2. “So my idea of neurotic is spending too much time trying to correct a wrong. When I feel that I’m doing that, then I snap out of it.”

3. “If you’re not gonna tell the truth, then why start talking?”

4. “Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.”  —Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

5. “The big catalyst was seeing my sister, when I was 11, doing a dramatic recital. When I saw her on the stage and everyone listening to her so patiently, quietly, that’s all I wanted: for someone to look at me and listen to me, but in some beautiful and artistic way.”

6. “I didn’t set out to shock. I said, ‘Just tell the truth’ and see how it comes out. I used to be a milksop, beat around the bush, not speak frankly. Now everyone says, ‘Don’t ask Gene, because he’ll tell you.’ ”

7. “I started writing, just casually writing, the ironies in my life—the strange accidents that turned the corner of where my life was going to.”

8. “On stage or in the movies I could do whatever I wanted to. I was free.”

9. “Well, you know, success is a terrible thing and a wonderful thing. If you can enjoy it, it’s wonderful. If it starts eating away at you and they’re waiting for more from me, or what can I do to top this, then you’re in trouble. Just do what you love. That’s all I want to do.”

10. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” —The Little Prince


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