When Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory first invited viewers into its world of pure creativeness in 1971, the now-classic movie didn’t obtain such a candy reception. Box workplace numbers have been lackluster, and critiques for the massive display adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, have been “lukewarm at best,” Peter Ostrum, who performed Charlie Bucket later recalled.
“When it came out, it was not a box office success,” actor Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt) explained in 2019. “ I believe it ran in movie theaters for a matter of weeks. And then it disappeared. It was not popular. It was actually forgotten after that. There was a period in my life where I never even mentioned it. And then it wasn’t until the ‘80s when I learned it had this cult status.”
Indeed, the film grew to become a cult traditional within the years following its theatrical launch, and, in 2014, the Library of Congress even named the “cinematic treasure” to the National Film Registry. “We have been clearly making an attempt to do our greatest, however we had no concept that that movie would nonetheless resonate,” Ostrum instructed The Hollywood Reporter in 2016.
Although Gene Wilder, the movie’s titular star, and Oscar winner Jack Albertson, who performed Grandpa Joe, have been family names, the movie’s 5 little one actors largely left present enterprise after capturing the film. Here’s your golden ticket the place the Willy Wonka solid is now:
Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka)
Before he died at age 83 from problems of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016, Wilder (born Jerome Silberman) earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for 1974’s Young Frankenstein (together with common collaborator Mel Brooks), in addition to a Golden Globe Best Actor nod for 1976’s Silver Streak, during which he starred with frequent comedy accomplice Richard Pryor. It wasn’t till 2003, nevertheless, that he took dwelling a significant award: a Primetime Emmy for his visitor function as Mr. Stein in Will & Grace — his final onscreen performance.
In Wilder’s last major interview with Turner Classic Movies in June 2013, he did share his disdain for Tim Burton’s 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adaptation, during which Johnny Depp starred within the Willy Wonka function. “I think it’s an insult,” Wilder said. “Johnny Depp, I think, is a good actor, but I don’t care for that director. He’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him doing stuff like he did.”
Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket)
After his starring function as Willy Wonka’s Charlie Bucket, Ostrum determined the movie trade “just wasn’t for” him. Instead, he pursued a level in veterinary drugs and earned his doctorate from Cornell University in 1984.“People are at all times inquisitive about what occurred to Charlie. Why wasn’t he in every other movies? Did he survive Hollywood?” he instructed a crowd on the University of Missouri in 2016. “I’m relieved to tell you that my life didn’t end up as a trainwreck.”
Now, Ostrum, a father of two, works as a senior accomplice at Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Upstate New York, the place he makes a speciality of cows and horses. His new profession path hasn’t taken him completely out of the highlight, nevertheless. According to his clinic’s web site, he was lately featured on a actuality collection titled Vets on Call.
Jack Albertson (Grandpa Joe)
An Oscar, Emmy and Tony winner, Jack Albertson returned to Broadway in 1972, co-starring with Sam Levene in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys. The similar yr, he additionally appeared within the catastrophe movie The Poseidon Adventure earlier than co-starring reverse Freddie Prinze as a storage proprietor on the sitcom Chico and the Man from 1974 to 1978. (He earned one other Emmy in 1976 for the function.) Albertson was identified with colorectal most cancers in 1978, although he stored his prognosis personal and continued to behave.
Although a household spokesperson stated the actor’s most cancers had been in remission, he later succumbed to the illness and died in November 1981 at age 74.
Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt)
Unlike her costars, Cole parlayed her Willy Wonka debut right into a decades-long TV career in her native United Kingdom, together with roles on BBC collection Angels and Poldark within the mid to late 1970s and within the TV film remake of Camille alongside Colin Firth in 1984. She accomplished her most up-to-date onscreen function in 2013 earlier than retiring from acting to coach as a psychotherapist.
These days, Cole, the mom of two grown youngsters (with ex-husband, EastEnders actor Nick Wilton), lives in Hampshire, England along with her canine Hudson and works for a most cancers charity, per her official website. While selling her 2011 memoir, I Want it Now! — which incorporates letters she wrote to her mom whereas filming Willy Wonka in Germany — she referred to her little one actor costars as “lifelong family,” whom she nonetheless considers her “brothers and sisters today.”
Denise Nickerson (Violet Beauregarde)
Following her look in Willy Wonka, Denise Nickerson, who had a breakthrough function in 1968’s Dark Shadows, later stated she auditioned for the function of the possessed Regan in 1973’s The Exorcist, however her dad and mom thought the fabric too disturbing, per Deadline. Nickerson continued performing on such collection as Search For Tomorrow, The Electric Company and The Brady Bunch earlier than stepping out of the highlight in favor of a profession in nursing, following her flip as Larry Wilde within the 1978 movie Zero To Sixty.
Decades after leaving present enterprise behind, Nickerson suffered a stroke in 2018 and died in July 2019 at a hospital close to her Colorado dwelling after her household eliminated her from life assist, her solely son, Josh, confirmed on Facebook. She was 62.
Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee)
Paris Themmen’s performing profession post-Willy Wonka included a task in a Broadway play known as The Rothchilds, in addition to industrial work. He later earned a BFA in theater from New York University, although he largely didn’t pursue performing additional. Off display, Themmen says he’s held several jobs in finance, actual property, movie manufacturing, casting and even served as a Walt Disney Imagineer, to call a number of.
He hasn’t completely left Hollywood behind, although. In addition to working behind the scenes as a manufacturing assistant on 2011’s Something Borrowed, he’s additionally appeared as himself in a number of actuality reveals, reminiscent of Top Chef: Just Desserts and Cake Wars. Themmen even finished second as a Jeopardy! contestant in 2018, although late host Alex Trebek launched him as an entrepreneur and avid backpacker who has traveled to greater than 60 international locations, with out ever mentioning Willy Wonka.
Michael Bollner (Augustus Gloop)
Unlike his younger costars, Michael Bollner didn’t have any personal tutors on set whereas filming Willy Wonka. After the challenge wrapped, nevertheless, the Germany native’s father insisted that he proceed his training, slightly than pursuing an performing profession. He landed a pair extra bit elements abroad, however went on to pursue an accounting diploma and now works as a tax lawyer in Munich, Germany.
Despite his divergent profession path, Bollner nonetheless participates in fan meet and greets and solid reunions, together with one in Los Angeles in 2014. He additionally paid tribute to Wilder following the titular star’s 2016 loss of life, memorializing the actor as a “great guy” who “was very funny” and “made a lot of jokes” on set. “I did not have an enormous quantity of contact with him as my English was very poor at the moment and his German wasn’t so good,” he said. “I remorse not talking to him once more within the years after the movie when my English had improved.”
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