Everyone wanted to get their hands on a golden ticket after speeding through Roald Dahl’s *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.* These desires were reignited and introduced to new generations with the 1971 film *Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory* starring Gene Wilder as the quirky Wonka and then again with the modern adaptation in 2005 with Johnny Depp in his own version of the chocolatier. The story follows Charlie Bucket, a young boy who wants one of five golden tickets hidden in Wonka candy bars. The ticket guarantees you and a guest admission into a top secret chocolate factory, but not just any, the greatest one in the world. Charlie wants the ticket just as bad as anybody else. The only problem is that he lives in poverty, making it difficult for him to get his hands on candy, which is considered a luxury. However, he receives a chocolate Wonka Bar for his birthday every year. Although he doesn’t find one in that bar, he later finds some money on the ground, which he uses to buy one more piece of chocolate. A good-hearted kid, he gives the rest to his family for food and savings. And yes, in that bar, he uncovers a golden ticket! As the story unfolds, we are introduced to a host of peculiar yet familiar characters, all while touring the Willy Wonka’s magnificent chocolate factory. If you’re a die-hard fan of the original film, continue reading to find out what the actors are up to today.Here’s a look at the entire gang in the original film. The crew did an amazing job on casting and wardrobe. We wouldn’t change a thing. The film wasn’t a commercial success but it did receive rave reviews and is locked in history as one of the world’s most iconic films.
Gene Wilder’s recent passing on August 29, 2016 to complications from Alzheimer’s disease left us completely heartbroken but his legacy will continue on. In 1971, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal as Willy Wonka. According to multiple sources, there were many great contenders for the role, including Fred Astaire, but there was none as suiting as Wilder. He agreed to take the part on the following condition: ‘When I make my first entrance, I’d like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I’m walking on and stands straight up, by itself; but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.’ But why? ‘Because from that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.’
We can all agree that Peter Ostrum made a fantastic Charlie Bucket. He had an angelic face to match that heart of gold. He was only 12 years old when he landed the coveted role as Charlie. Talent agents were scanning the country for the perfect boy and it just so happened that he was noticed while performing at a children’s theater in Cleveland. While he considered returning to Hollywood, Ostrum opted instead to work towards a degree in veterinary medicine. After filming, his family took a horse under their wing. At the time, Ostrum was greatly influenced by the horse’s vet.
Michael Bollner’s character, Augustus Gloop, was known for his sin of gluttony. He wanted to eat everything he could get his hands on. Based in Munich, Germany, where they shot the film, he now works as a tax lawyer. Why guzzle down chocolate when you can guzzle down bills? Only kidding.
‘Don’t care how, I want it NOWW!’ Veruca Salt sang before her demise down the chute where bad eggs go. While shooting, both she and Denise Nickerson (Violet Beauregarde) had a crush on Peter Ostrum, and they took turns spending time with him during breaks. She later appeared in the British drama Angels and Van der Valk, among other shows, pantomimes, and voice-over works. In the early 2002s, she developed a children’s acting drama school. Today, she has two children, Holly and Barnaby. Whenever Holly was acting like a brat, Julie would refer to her as Veruca, and that would do the trick.
It frightened and entertained us to see Violet blow up like a blueberry. Who would have ever guessed that the selfish, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde would end up as a nurse and later, a selfless full-time mom? Before playing Violet, Nickerson appeared in the show Dark Shadows and starred as Lolita in the stage production Lolita, My Love. She left acting in 1978 when she was 21 years old.
Wonka shrunk down the mighty voiced Mike Teevee before successfully ejecting him from the tour. His character aside, we expected great things from Paris Themmen, the actor who played him, and he delivered. At 14, he quit acting but later studied theater at NYU. His passion for travel led him to found a travel service for backpackers. He has also worked in finance, real estate, film production, casting, and more. You might have also seen his wife, Nikki Grillos, on Jeopardy!, where she was a two-time champion.
This story would not be as delightful without the orange-skinned, green-haired Oompa Loompas, and that includes actor Rusty Goffe. The actors who played the Oompa Loompas were rumored to party hard while filming in Munich. We don’t know if Goffe was involved in that, but we do know that he went on to play a goblin at Gringott’s in Harry Potter. He also played the lead in A Kitten for Hitler.
This photo is a testament to the phrase ‘Time flies.’ It’s been 45 years since the 1971 release of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, but that won’t keep us from watching it again and again. ‘And they’re certainly not showing any signs that they are slowing!’ RIP Gene Wilder, the legendary Willy Wonka and so much more.