In 1971, Gene Wilder brought one of Roald Dahl’s most mysterious and magical characters to life on the big screen. Now, 45 years after it was released, we find out what happened to the children lucky enough to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
CHARLIE BUCKET aka Peter Ostrum
Little Charlie won the biggest prize of all in the children’s movie – becoming the head of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory after winning the wacky owner’s strange contest. In real life, despite being offered another dream prize – a three-picture deal with the studio – the young Peter Ostrum turned his back on showbiz and developed his interest in medicine. He has worked most of his life as a vet to large animals. He was quoted in an American newspaper last year as saying: “I will always cherish my memories of making the movie, but I feel I won the golden ticket by becoming a vet.”
VIOLET BEAUREGARDE aka Denise Nickerson
While she played the spoiled, gum-chewing, sweetie-loving brat on screen who ballooned like a blueberry before being rolled off by some Oompa Loompas, Denise Nickerson was actually a very nice young girl in real life. She went on to appear on a number of TV shows including The Brady Bunch and Dark Shadows before “retiring” seven years later. Most recent media reports state she now works as an accountant for an engineering plant.
AUGUSTUS GLOOP aka Michael Bollner
Another one who had his fill after his time in the chocolate factory. He left showbiz behind and works as a tax attorney, living in Munich, Germany.
MIKE TEEVEE aka Paris Themmen
His time in Willy Wonka’s place of work ended with him being shrunk and placed inside a TV. Following the film is a different story. He went on to perform on Broadway, continuing his career in commercials and a few TV appearances. He then decided to give up acting and go to college. In later years, he travelled the world, had a career in real estate, worked on the team which designs and builds the rides for Disneyland theme parks, tried retail and a few entrepreneurial ventures. He is now believed to organise commercial casting sessions in Los Angeles.