R.I.P. Gene Wilder

by chuckofish

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 9.07.11 AM

We bid adieu this week to Gene Wilder. You know how I felt about him. He was one of those funny, funny people with sad, sad eyes. The Chaplin film “City Lights,” he said, had “made the biggest impression on me as an actor; it was funny, then sad, then both at the same time.”

On Monday I went to a funeral of an old friend who died on Saturday. According to Jewish law, the body must be interred as soon as practical from the time of death, so his funeral was on Monday. The temple was packed. The funeral consisted of prayers, a eulogy by the rabbi, and testimony from all of the deceased man’s grandchildren, who all clearly idolized and loved their “Boppa”. The cantor sang Psalm 23. Since there is no explicit afterlife in Judaism, the focus was on what a great life he had (he was rich as Croesus), how his family loved him, and how he loved learning (he did). He was a generous man.

I thought of Gene Wilder, whose funeral will no doubt be similar.

May the prayers and supplications

of all Israel

be accepted by their Father who is in Heaven; and say, Amen

Later in the day, I went to my friend’s penthouse to sit shiva with his family and friends. I spoke to his children and told them how much I would miss their father. He was a gentleman of the old school–polite, humble, curious, and detached.

I thought of Gene Wilder. I will miss him too.