The Cast of ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ Where Are They Now?

It’s been 44 years since we first visited a world of imagination, but the cast of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory recently reunited and made all of our hearts melt! After all these years later, it might sound surprising, but Willy Wonka was actually a box office disappointment. Parents felt the film had a “crude moral story” and it didn’t land with family audiences, but obviously over time, everyone saw Willy Wonka for the true cinematic gem that it is!

Gene Wilder - Willy Wonka
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection/Splash News
To this day, Gene Wilder (his birth name is Jerome Silberman, did you know that?!) is best known as a comedic genius and one of the most influential comedic actors of the second half of the 20th century. After the lukewarm reception of Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder struck gold with Young Frankenstein and the several films he did with Richard Pryor. After his third wife Gilda Radner passed away from ovarian cancer, he became very active in promoting awareness for cancer and treatment, co-founding the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and Gilda's Club. In 1999 he semi-retired, ending his film work and doing some small television work in the following years. In 2005, he released his memoir Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art and he has since released several books.
Peter Ostrum - Charlie Bucket
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Peter Ostrum
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection/Splash News
Peter Ostrum will forever be Charlie Bucket to us, though Freddie Highmore did a decent job in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. After Willy Wonka, Peter had the chance to sign a 3 movie contract, but declined the offer. He's been out of Hollywood for over 30 years now and is a practicing veterinarian. Though he hasn't acted in decades, he still makes time every year to talk to children about Willy Wonka, how cute!
Julie Dawn Cole - Veruca Salt
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Julie Dawn Cole
Paramount Pictures/Splash News
Julie Dawn Cole made such an impression as Veruca Salt, there is a Chicago-based alternative rock band that named themselves after the character. Since her days of acting, she's opened Centrestage, a children's acting drama school. In 2010 she starred in an Edinburgh Fringe show titled Willy Wonka Revisted: The Veruca Salt Sessions, playing a semi-functional version of herself. Her most recent work has been on the shows Holby City and Casualty.
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Denise Nickerson - Violet Beauregarde
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Denise Nickerson
Paramount Pictures/Splash News
"Violet, you're turning violet!" Denise Nickerson hasn't acted since the 1978 film Zero to Sixty. She was on an episode of the 2000-2002 John O'Hurley version of the show To Tell the Truth, as contestant number two.
Paris Themmen - Mike TeeVee
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Paris Themmen
Paramount Pictures/Splash News
Like a few of the kids from Willy Wonka, Paris Themmen took some time off to "be a kid". However, he's continued working over the years. More recently he worked as a production assistant on the film Something Borrowed and as first assistant director on The Owner. At the end of October 2015 he appeared on Jeopardy, winning 2 days in a row and losing on his 3rd day.
Michael Bollner - Augustus Gloop
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Michael Bollner
Paramount Pictures/Splash News
Michael Bollner must have either loved playing Augustus Gloop so much, he never wanted to act again, or hated it that much, as he hasn't acted in the last 44 years. But actually, his father wanted him to continue his education, so he went on to own an accounting business.
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Rusty Goffe - Oompa Loopma
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Rusty Goffe
Paramount Pictures/Splash News
Surprisingly, the most successful actor from Willy Wonka (aside from Gene Wilder) was Rusty Goffe, one of the beloved little Oompa Loompas! After Willy Wonka, some of his biggest work was as a Jawa in Star Wars, as well as Willow and Flash Gordon. He's continued to act over the last 5 decades and you might just recognize him as a Gringotts goblin in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. Just think back to the Gringotts break in scene, he's the one who almost catches onto their plan, but luckily isn't the goblin that gets burnt to a crisp.

R.I.P. – Grandpa Joe

BuzzFeed/Paramount Pictures

Our favorite of Charlie’s grandparents, was actor Jack Albertson as Grandpa Joe. Only a few short years after the success of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Albertson passed away in 1981 from colorectal cancer.