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Boy Who Played Charlie In ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ Never Acted Again

Boy Who Played Charlie In ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ Never Acted Again

There have been plenty of previously unheard-of actors who have managed to nab a lead role in a major movie, which then catapults them into stardom - think Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter. While that level of stardom is something that most aspiring actors could only dream of, it's certainly not for everyone.

That couldn't be more relevant than for Dr Peter Ostrum.

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That name probably doesn't jump out on first read, but he was the star of the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Dr Ostrum was in the sixth grade and performing at the Cleveland Play House children's theatre when some talent agents picked him to audition.

He loved getting to film the legendary movie with Gene Wilder in Munich, and has nothing but fond memories of his other co-stars.

When shooting finished he was aged 13 - and was offered a three-movie deal.

Imagine being on the cusp of adolescence and a movie studio offers you the chance to cement your place in Hollywood.

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But it turns out it wasn't for him.

Credit: Paramount Pictures
Credit: Paramount Pictures

He gave it one more shot in his senior year of high school, but after getting knocked back from several auditions he found a new venture to get excited about.

When he returned home from shooting Willy Wonka, his parents had just got a horse and Ostrum was really impressed with the veterinarian who would come to his property in Ohio to look after them.

Speaking to the American Veterinarian Medical Association in 2000, he said: "Everybody thinks that acting is such a glamorous profession, but it's a difficult profession.

Dr Ostrum now. Credit: Fourthords/Creative Commons
Dr Ostrum now. Credit: Fourthords/Creative Commons

"I can remember the veterinarian coming out and taking care of the horses, and it made a huge impression on me.

"This person really enjoyed what he did for a living. My father was a lawyer, and I really didn't have a clue what he did all day. But I knew exactly what the veterinarian did. Someone making a living from something he enjoyed so much really sparked my interest."

He later refused to do any interviews about his one-time stardom and even told people it was his brother who was in the film in order to avoid answering questions. Dr Ostrum said he wanted to be judged on what his skills were, not on what he'd done in the past.

He's since relaxed that point of view and has even spoken to students at Lowville Academy, every year without fail on their last day of school, to talk about Willy Wonka.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Celebrity, Interesting

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

 

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