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Life After the Golden Ticket — Catching up With the ‘Willy Wonka’ Kids


It’s impossible to think of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and not think of its adorable young cast — particularly Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie Bucket in the film and had all of his dreams come true. What’s amazing, considering how beloved that film is all of these years later, is the fact that the movie was a major box office disappointment when it was released in 1971, and that as much as fans from all around the world instantly know Charlie, the spoiled Veruca Salt, gum-chewing and blueberry-turning Violet Beauregarde, the TV-obsessed Mike Teevee, and the “let me in, I’m starving” Augustus Gloop, none of the actors who brought them to life actually spent that much time pursuing acting as a career.

Obviously the late Gene Wilder, who brought the eccentric Willy Wonka to life when he was 38 years old, became something of a comic legend thanks to his work with Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein) and by teaming up with Richard Pryor. But it’s interesting to see what sort of directions life took his young co-stars after they all got their golden tickers and left Wonka’s factory. What is gratifying to see is that they all seem to love the film as much as we do (and tend to dislike the 2005 remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the same degree), and frequently come together for reunions, much to the delight of fans everywhere. So join us as we take a look back at what exactly happened to young members of the Willy Wonka cast.

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