11th June 1933,03:50; Milwaukee, WI
IN THE EARLY HOURS OF MONDAY, 29TH AUGUST Gene Wilder passed away listening to Somewhere over the Rainbow and holding hands with his family gathered beside his bedside. He died from complications associated with Alzheimer's.
Diagnosed with the disease in 2013, he kept his condition secret so that children who might call out to him in the street, "there's Willy Wonka" would not have to be told he was ill.
He simply could not bear the idea of one less smile in the world.
Born Jerome Silverman on 11th June, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, his talent to amuse was evident from an early age. His mother suffered a heart attack when he was six years old leaving her a semi-invalid. Gene started to write and improvise comedy sketches to entertain her.
He began studying acting at the age of thirteen but his mother, fearing his potential would never be realized in Wisconsin, sent him to Black-Foxe Military Institute in Hollywood where he was bullied and sexually assaulted. His desire to act and his indomitable spirit carried him through and he went on to study acting at the Bristol Old Vic in the UK and the prestigious Actors Studio in New York.
In the early Sixties he worked principally on stage, his film break coming in 1968 in The Producers where he played an accountant tricked into producing a musical based on the life of Adolph Hitler. His performance as Leo Bloom won him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars and set the stage for his most endearing film character - a figure constantly on the edge of hysteria.
Since I sat in the audience of The Producers and quite literally fell out of my seat laughing, I wanted to meet Gene Wilder. Sadly, I never did.
Wilder's natal chart is dominated by an elevated Saturn in trine to his rising Sun in Gemini. The actor remained at the top of his profession for almost fifty years, latterly turning his talents to writing. Saturn's position may have given him more than his share of troubles but it also ensured his staying power in a career that is notoriously harsh and short-lived.
A Mars-Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in square to the Sun and Ascendant brought him success and much love, whether from friends and family or the public. It also reflected his generous spirit and desire to bring happiness to the world. In later years he and his fourth wife spent their time painting water-colours, writing and engaging in charitable ventures.
Although the Moon could be considered too far from Saturn to form a conjunction, the effects of a Moon-Saturn combination were clearly evident in his life. - his mother's early demise, his traumatic school days, and the loss of his much loved third wife, actress Gilda Radner to ovarian cancer in 1986.
He left the world as Saturn reached his Descendant and squared his Neptune and Jupiter. It was thus a peaceful and joyous passing away.
He will be missed.
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