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What The Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory Cast Are Up To Now

Claire Reid

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What The Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory Cast Are Up To Now

It's been 50 years since Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was first released and a lot's gone on for the cast over the last five decades - with many of them deciding to turn their backs on acting in the years since.

Peter Ostrum was just 12 years old when he picked up the role of Golden Ticket winner Charlie Bucket.

The US actor had never starred in a movie before and said Willy Wonka star Gene Wilder took him under his wing. He told Variety: "[Wilder] was the pro and I was the rookie. They would break for lunch and Gene and I would always buy a chocolate bar and share it on the way back to the set."

Peter Ostrum played Charlie Bucket. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures
Peter Ostrum played Charlie Bucket. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures

Despite smashing the role and being offered a three-movie contract, Ostrum decided he wasn't so keen on acting after all and turned it down.

In fact, in the years following the movie, Ostrum would even lie to people and claim it was actually his brother who starred in the flick.

These days he's happy to acknowledge that he was in the movie but he never went back to acting, but instead trained as a vet - gaining his doctorate in 1984.

Augustus Gloop - the poor kid who ended up falling into the chocolate river - was played by German actor Michaell Bollner.

Bollner has previously said he wasn't able to form much of a bond with his co-stars as his English wasn't very good.

Michaell Bollner played Augustus Gloop. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures
Michaell Bollner played Augustus Gloop. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures

Although he wanted to pursue a career in acting, Bollner's sensible dad made him finish school and according to the BBC, he now works as a tax lawyer in Munich.

Julie Dawn Cole expertly played the spoilt and annoying Verruca Salt when she was just 12 - and insists she's absolutely nothing like the character.

Julie Dawn Cole played Verruca Salt. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures
Julie Dawn Cole played Verruca Salt. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures

Cole stuck with acting, picking up roles in Angels, Eastenders, Poldark and Holby City.

Alongside her acting, Cole is also a qualified fitness instructor.

Telly-obessessed Mike TeeVee was played by Paris Themmen when he was 14. After the movie was made, Themmen decided to stay away from acting and concentrate on 'just being a kid'.

 Paris Themmen played Mike TeeVee. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures
Paris Themmen played Mike TeeVee. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures

He's had a varied career since then, picking up some acting roles as well as branching out into film production, casting and real estate.

Tragically, Denise Nickerson, who played Violet Beauregarde, died in July 2019 after suffering a seizure that she never recovered from.

Nickerson was 13 when she took on the role of Violet - starring in one of the movie's most memorable scenes where she blew up like a giant blueberry.

The actor went on to star in numerous TV shows before quitting acting in 1978 and taking a job as a doctor's receptionist.

Denise Nickerson played Violet Beauregade. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures
Denise Nickerson played Violet Beauregade. Credit: Today.com/Paramount Pictures

In later life, she had a run of ill health, with a stroke in 2018 and pneumonia the following year, before passing away in 2019 aged 62.

Of course, there'd have been no Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory without Willy Wonka himself, who was played by Gene Wilder.

The much-loved comedy actor had an impressive Hollywood career, with roles in absolute classics such as Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

Gene Wilder played Willy Wonka. Credit: PA/Paramount Pictures
Gene Wilder played Willy Wonka. Credit: PA/Paramount Pictures

Sadly, Wilder died in August 2016 aged 83 following a secret three-year battle with Alzheimer's.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Topics: TV and Film, Interesting

Claire Reid
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