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August 30, 2016 at 01:52 PM EDT

Since Gene Wilder died Sunday, multiple Hollywood figures have paid tribute to the beloved star of films like Blazing Saddles and The Producers. Cloris Leachman, who acted opposite the comedy legend in the 1974 classic Young Frankenstein, joined the growing list of mourners when she released a touching statement via PEOPLE Monday in honor of her late costar.

“Gene was in a class by himself,” she said, referring to their time together working on the Mel Brooks hit. “I looked up to him, yet on the set, he was just one of us.”

Leachman, who also starred alongside Wilder in the TV movie Thursday’s Game, also recalled a particularly memorable day on set in which Wilder couldn’t keep it together while filming a scene on a staircase.

“I remember when we were shooting Young Frankenstein, there was a scene where I had to get the group up the stairs immediately,” she said. “I had to say, ‘Shtay close to zee candles’ and turn toward him. As I turned around I could see his face was in two pieces. We had to do our scenes 14 times over because he’d be laughing so hard. Alas…alas…” 

RELATED: Gene Wilder: His Life in Photos

She continued: “So dear Gene I vill say, Goodnight.” 

type
Stage
run date
10/11/07
director
Susan Stroman
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