×

Denise Nickerson, Violet in ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,’ Dies at 62

Denise Nickerson, best known for her role as Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 version of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” died Wednesday night. She had been taken off life support earlier in the day after suffering a stroke in 2018. She was 62.

Her family made the announcement on Facebook. “She’s gone,” the message read.

Nickerson suffered a severe stroke in June 2018 after which she entered the ICU for treatment. Despite entering a rehab facility later in the year, her son Josh Nickerson took to Facebook earlier Wednesday to announce her debilitating state which led to their decision to cease life support. “They just took off all the equipment. None of it was helping, but making her only more uncomfortable,” he wrote. “We’re telling her it’s okay to let go.”

Nickerson’s son and his wife Jasmine also created a GoFundMe page where the couple is posting updates on Nickerson’s health, where they reported that she had suffered from seizures shortly after being admitted into the hospital and later entered a “coma-like” state.

Jasmine also noted on the page her heartbreak for her husband. The couple announced in March that they’re expecting a baby girl. “He is just coming to terms with the reality of the situation and doesn’t know how to process it. He says to me a few minutes ago that she won’t ever get to see or hold or know her granddaughter,” she wrote.

Nickerson was a young teen when she played the gum-chewing and sassy Violet, who turns into a giant blueberry, in the first movie version of the iconic childrens’ book, opposite Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka.

Before that, she appeared on “Sesame Street” companion series “The Electric Company” as Alison. On “Dark Shadows,” she played Amy Jennings and Nora Collins from 1968-70. After appearing in soap opera “Search for Tomorrow” and several small roles in films including “Smile” before retiring from acting at age 21. She continued to make her living as a nurse.

Marion Curtis/Starpix/Shutterstock

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

  • Peter Fonda Dead: 'Easy Rider' Star

    Peter Fonda, Star of 'Easy Rider,' Dies at 79

    Two-time Oscar nominee Peter Fonda, who became a counterculture icon when he co-wrote, produced and starred in seminal 1969 road movie “Easy Rider,” then showed Hollywood he could act about three decades later in “Ulee’s Gold,” died on Friday from lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79. His sister Jane Fonda [...]

  • CineLink Drama Brings High-End Series to

    CineLink Drama Brings High-End Series to Sarajevo

    When the organizers of the Sarajevo Film Festival’s CineLink Industry Days surveyed the local TV landscape several years ago, they recognized the chance to make an impact. “We decided five years ago that we need to do something,” says CineLink industry coordinator Armin Hadzic. “The [regional] TV and public broadcasters were coming from another age.” [...]

  • SCHOOLED - ABC's "Schooled" stars Bryan

    'Kids Are Alright' Creator Joins 'Schooled' Season 2 as Showrunner

    Tim Doyle is taking over as showrunner and executive producer on the upcoming second season of “Schooled” at ABC, Variety has confirmed. Doyle takes over from Season 1 showrunner and series co-creator Marc Firek, who has exited the series to focus on development. The news comes just months after Doyle’s 1970s-set comedy series, “The Kids [...]

  • Matthew Miller'Lethal Weapon' TV series screening,

    'Lethal Weapon' Team Lands Put Pilot Order at Fox for Cop Drama 'Dead Eddie' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Matt Miller and Alex Taub are staying in business with Fox. The pair, who previously worked together on Fox’s series adaptation of “Lethal Weapon,” have scored a put pilot commitment at the broadcaster for a new drama project, Variety has learned exclusively. The drama is titled “Dead Eddie.” In the series, after a near-death experience, misanthropic [...]

  • Krypton Syfy

    'Krypton' Canceled After Two Seasons at Syfy, Network Not Moving Forward on 'Lobo' Spinoff

    “Krypton” has been canceled after two seasons at Syfy. In addition, the NBCUniversal cabler is not moving ahead with a planned “Lobo” spinoff. “Krypton,” set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s titular home planet, follows Superman’s grandfather Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) as a young man faced with saving his home planet or letting it be [...]

  • Alexis Martin Woodall

    Alexis Martin Woodall Named President of Ryan Murphy Productions

    Longtime producer Alexis Martin Woodall has been tapped to become the president of Ryan Murphy Productions, giving her oversight of the Netflix-based company. As president, Woodall will manage Murphy’s company, continuing to be hands on in executive producing its TV productions and producing its films. “Alexis is brazen, sharp and incisive — qualities that have [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content