Denise Nickerson, ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ Star, Dies At 62
Denise Nickerson, a star of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, died Wednesday night at the age of 62.
Her family announced her death in a Facebook post late Wednesday night saying, “She’s gone.”
Earlier this week in a Facebook post, Nickerson’s family said that she experienced a medical emergency Monday and was admitted to the hospital. Her son, Josh Nickerson, and his wife, Jasmine, wrote that she suffered seizures and developed pneumonia. They made the decision to take her off life support after she entered a “coma-like state.”
Nickerson was born in New York City in 1957. She was best known for her role as Violet Beauregarde, the spoiled and gum obsessed girl, in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
“I’m a very fortunate lady to have been chosen to be a part of something that brings smiles to so many faces,” she told People in 2016.
Nickerson recalled her former co-star, Gene Wilder, who played the chocolatier in the film. She said, “he was such a kind, tender hearted man. And for him to put up with us, my God what patience he must’ve needed for five of us running around [on set].”
She made her screen debut in an episode of the TV series Flipper. She also appeared on shows including Dark Shadows, The Electric Company and The Brady Bunch. She eventually left Hollywood in 1978 and became a nurse.
In 2018, Nickerson entered a rehab facility following her stroke. She was unable to return home later that year. She was visited by her former Willy Wonka co-stars, Paris Themmen and Julie Dawn Cole last September.
Nickerson’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to honor her wish “to be cremated and her ashes made into a piece of glass art,” as well as for their home expenses.