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James Corden's tribute to 'magical' Gene Wilder

James Corden's tribute to 'magical' Gene Wilder

James Corden has paid tribute to "magical" Gene Wilder.

The 'Late Late Show' host met Gene - who recently passed away at the age of 83 from complications from Alzheimer's disease at his home in Stamford, Connecticut - when he was performing on Broadway and has fond memories of the meeting.

He said: "He was never less than brilliant at all times. If anyone else came backstage they'd stay for five, six, 10 minutes tops. He sat in my room for half an hour and we sat on this couch and I'll never forget it as long as I live. And all he really wanted to talk about was how my wife and son were adjusting in New York and were we happy and was it fun. It was amazing and we exchanged emails."

James also revealed that Gene turned down his request to appear on 'The Late Late Show' but did so in the most "poetic" way.

He said: "I sent him an email, asking if he'd come and do a bit and he sent me an email back where he, in the history of people saying no to things, it couldn't have been nicer.

"The email read, 'Dearest James, I don't do or go where you were hoping, but I'll be looking for you. With my love, Gene.'

"Even the way he said no was so poetic, even his emails sounded somehow like Willy Wonka. The truth of it is, he was just this magical person and he made everybody around him feel this incredible feeling of joy. It's what I felt when I watched him. It's what I felt when I met him. And that's what I hope he's feeling now, wherever he is. Thank you so much for everything you gave us, Gene Wilder, you are loved and you are going to be so dearly, dearly missed."