One of Gene Wilder’s final “roles” was at a metro Atlanta school

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Photo: Courtesy of Holy Innocents Episcopal School

Gene Wilder, who died Monday, was beloved for roles in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,”  “Young Frankenstein,” “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Blazing Saddles.” One of his final “roles” was especially sweet, though. He was active with at Holy Innocents Episcopal School, his step-grandson’s school.

“I am so sad,” school spokesperson Peggy Shaw said. “He was a gentleman – kind and thoughtful.”

Due to privacy concerns, the school asked that the child’s name not be published, but the Holy Innocents community cherishes the memories of Wilder’s time there. The veteran comic genius approached visits with students with their sense of wonder in mind.

“He knew exactly what questions our young students would ask him about ‘Willy Wonka” when he went into their classroom,” Shaw said. (Sample question: “Was the candy real?”)

“He entered the room happily and answered each question as if he’d never heard it before,” Shaw said.

Here are some great photos:

Photo: Courtesy of Holy Innocents Episcopal School

Photos: Courtesy of Peggy Shaw, Holy Innocents Episcopal School

Gene Wilder with HIES teacher Kristin Ahler.

Gene Wilder with HIES teacher Kristin Ahler.

He answered every question as if he'd never heard it before.

He answered every question as if he’d never heard it before.


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