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This is what happened to all the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory actors

Emily Brown

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| Last updated 

This is what happened to all the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory actors

Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures / Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Willy Wonka is officially back with more magical and delicious creations than you could ever imagine - but the new version of the movie might just have you wondering what happened to those from the original.

It's Timothee Chalamet's turn to don the purple coat and hat as he plays Wonka in director Paul King's latest iteration of the story, but he's definitely got some tough acts to follow.

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Before Johnny Depp took on the role of Roald Dahl's wacky chocolatier in 2005, it was Gene Wilder who brought the character to life alongside a whole set of original castmates.

So, where are they now?

Gene Wilder and the cast of Willy Wonka. Credit: Paramount Pictures
Gene Wilder and the cast of Willy Wonka. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Veruca Salt

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The original spoilt brat, Salt was first played by Julie Dawn Cole as she portrayed the character for her first-ever acting role.

Her appearance set off a long career for Cole, who went on to appear in popular TV shows like BBC's Poldark and Casualty.

However, Cole decided to switch things up later in life, and after publishing her memoir, I Want It Now! A Memoir of Life on the Set of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Cole changed careers and became a psychotherapist to do 'something more meaningful'.

Veruca Salt was Julie Dawn Cole's first acting role. Credit: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Veruca Salt was Julie Dawn Cole's first acting role. Credit: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
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Violet Beauregarde

It was Denise Nickerson whose gum-chewing character found herself getting into a sticky situation at the chocolate factory, but unlike Cole, this wan't Nickerson's first rodeo.

The young actor had previously appeared in ABC's Dark Shadows and went on to appear on PBS' The Electric Company and The Brady Bunch, but in 1978 she took on her last role before retiring from acting at just 21 years old.

Nickerson took on a job as a receptionist, before she died in 2019 at 62 years old following seizures and a stroke.

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Denise Nickerson died in 2019. Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Denise Nickerson died in 2019. Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Mike Teavee

Mike would probably be all about streaming these days, but back when he was portrayed by Paris Themmen, he was just focused on the regular old television.

Though Themmen was only 11 years old when he played Mike, he had previously appeared in TV ads and on Broadway.

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After Willy Wonka, Themmen continued acting and even dabbled in directing, but he also followed his passion for travelling by visiting 60 different countries and co-founding a travel service.

Themmen has taken on work in a number of different areas over the years, and in 2018 he appeared on Jeopardy as a contestant.

Paris Themmen has had a range of jobs since Willy Wonka. Credit: Monica Morgan/WireImage
Paris Themmen has had a range of jobs since Willy Wonka. Credit: Monica Morgan/WireImage

Augustus Gloop

Augustus' sheer love for chocolate is more relatable than ever at Christmastime, and that passion was originally displayed by German actor Michael Bollner.

Willy Wonka is Bollner's only acting credit, as he went on to go to law school and become a tax lawyer in Munich.

Mrs. Bucket

Charlie's optimistic mom was portrayed by Diana Sowle, who'd done theater work before she stepped in front of the camera.

She went on to earn more acting credits as well as voicing characters for two of the Fall Out video games, before she died at the age of 88 in 2018.

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Grandpa Joe

The original, ever-heartwarming Grandpa Joe was portrayed by Jack Albertson, who had a successful career spanning four decades after he took on his first tole in the 1940s.

After wrapping up Willy Wonka, Albertson earned credits on The Poseidon Adventure, NBC's Chico and the Man, and The Fox and the Hound.

In 1981, Alberson passed away of cancer at the age of 74.

Oompa Loompa

There were a number of little orange men running around Wonka's factory, one of who was portrayed by Rusty Goffe.

Goffe has since appeared in a number of movies, including four Harry Potter films in which he played goblins in Gringotts and the Ministry of Magic.

Goffe's most recent credit is the 2016 film Spidarlings.

Rusty Goffee had a successful career following Willy Wonka. Credit: Amanda Edwards/WireImage
Rusty Goffee had a successful career following Willy Wonka. Credit: Amanda Edwards/WireImage

Charlie Bucket

Of course, you can hardly have Willy Wonka without Charlie Bucket, who was played in the 1971 film by Peter Ostrum.

Ostrum was just 12 years old at the time, but despite being scouted at a local children's theater, he didn't continue acting after the film.

Instead, Ostrum went to Cornell University and became a vet, working at New York's Countryside Veterinary Clinic before he decided to retire.

Peter Ostrum and Diana Sowle reunited. Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage
Peter Ostrum and Diana Sowle reunited. Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Gene Wilder

Last, but certainly not least, we have Wilder, who played Willy Wonka himself.

Wilder was already known for his appearances in Bonnie and Clyde and The Producers, and his success continued after Willy Wonka as he went on to earn a Golden-Globe nomination for Silver Streak in 1976.

Gene Wilder was the original Willy Wonka. Credit: Dr. Billy Ingram/WireImage
Gene Wilder was the original Willy Wonka. Credit: Dr. Billy Ingram/WireImage

Wilder received an Emmy for his role in Will and Grace, and in 2005 he wrote a memoir titled Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art.

In 2016, Wilder died at the age of 83 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Celebrity

Emily Brown
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