There are many films that I fell in love with during my childhood, but few had quite the impact that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory did. It’s a classic story adapted from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory novel. After decades, not even Tim Burton’s adaptation of the film could take away from the universal love of such a remarkable film.
Willy Wonka was released in June 30th, 1971, so we are coming up on the 45th anniversary of the film! After almost half a century, the kids from Wonka’s chocolate factory are all grown up!
Peter Ostrum – Charlie Bucket
This is usually the part where I tell you all about Peter Ostrum’s various acting roles after Willy Wonka, but surprisingly enough, his trip to the chocolate factory was his only acting endeavor. After he survived the factory and inherited Wonka’s fortune, he was offered a three-film contract, but decided that he didn’t want to pursue acting.
Instead, he finished school and became a veterinarian. He now cares for cows and horses in New York. I guess he’s just more of an animal person than a chocolate person.
Denise Nickerson – Violet Beauregarde
Unlike her co-star Peter, Denise kept acting for years after Willy Wonka. She turned to television after her big movie break. She took a part in the PBS series The Electric Company for a few years before appearing in an episode of The Brady Bunch!
She went back to movies for a while, playing parts in Smile, The Dark Side of Innocence, and Zero to Sixty. Once she turned 21, she decided to step away from acting and instead became a hospital clerk. After a few marriages and a few moves, Denise ended up working as an accountant in Colorado.
Michael Bollner – Augustus Gloop
Michael Bollner ended up much like a combination of Ostrum and Nickerson after he fell into the chocolate river. Like Ostrum, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was Bollner’s only film. He wanted to keep acting, but his father insisted that he focus on his education.
He never went back to acting, and instead went into accounting, like Nickerson. He now has his own accounting firm in Germany where he works as a tax accountant.
Julie Dawn Cole – Veruca Salt
Willy Wonka was the first of many, many acting credits for Julie Dawn Cole. The girl who really wanted an Oompa Loompa strayed away from film acting to focus on her many television roles like Angels and The Many Wives of Patrick. She also acted in a few stage plays, and she showed up in a few movies as well, even one with Roger Moore called That Lucky Touch.
She actually continued acting in television shows until 2013, before she moved on to try out life as a psychotherapist. In the early 2000s, she started her own drama school for child actors called Centrestage.
Paris Themmen – Mike Teevee
Just like Mike Teevee shrunk down, Themmen’s acting roles diminished a bit as well. He kept acting for a short while, appearing in small television roles like in Macross Plus and Star Trek: Voyager. Once he hit fourteen years old, he decided that he just wanted to be a normal kid, and he left acting behind.
He attended NYU and got a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts before going to travel around the world. When he came back, he tried out a variety of different jobs including financial advisor, real estate broker, and even film production. He now is in charge of a photography business, but he makes sure to attend conventions and sign autographs for loyal fans.
Gene Wilder – Willy Wonka
Willy Wonka himself had quite a productive acting career after he turned over his chocolate factory. If you are a Mel Brooks fan, you’ve doubtlessly seen him in the popular comedies Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.
He went in to act in a great number of movies, including Rhinoceros, Stir Crazy, The Woman in Red, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. He retired from film in the 1990’s, but went on to act in a couple episodes of the show Will & Grace.
After acting, he took to pen and paper to express in talents. He wrote a memoir in 2005 titled Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. He also wrote several novels, including My French Whore, The Woman Who Wouldn’t, and Something to Remember You By.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is one of the most fun and whimsical stories even today, so much so that the movie received a Tim Burton-directed remake in 2005. The movie is perfect for all ages (yes, even the creepy tunnel scene), and 45 years later Willy Wonka continues to be a family classic.
Who is your favorite Willy Wonka character?2 Votes
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