Amid the outpouring of grief over the death of Gene Wilder on Monday, one location stayed oddly quiet: the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, where there is no star bearing the name of the late “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” leading man.
But that’s not because he doesn’t deserve one.
“I so wish he had one,” Ana Martinez, VP of media relations for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the landmark, told TheWrap. “But no one ever submitted the paperwork.”
Wilder’s death at his home in Stamford, Connecticut, due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, was announced on Monday. Even though he was one Hollywood’s biggest talents for a half century, with classic roles in movies like “The Producers” and “Blazing Saddles,” fans won’t be able to find a star for Wilder on Hollywood Boulevard.
“Somebody mentioned a possible nomination years ago,” Martinez said. “But he didn’t seem to be interested.”
Still, Wilder can get one. According to Martinez, stars can be awarded posthumously, though only after a five-year waiting period. “If the family decided they want to submit an application, we would gladly consider him,” Martinez said, adding that her “dream was always to put him next to his wife Gilda Radner,” the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. Wilder married Karen Webb Boyer in 1991 and they were still married when he passed away.
Anyone can nominate a star, be it a fan club or a coworker, as long as they have $30,000 on hand, which goes to pay for the maintenance of the plaque and production cost for the ceremony.
“We always hope they change their minds,” Martinez said. “Sometimes it happens when they have kids and they want their children to experience this historic landmark that bears their parents’ name.”