Denise Nickerson, ‘Willy Wonka’s Violet Beauregarde, Dies at 62
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory fans — so, basically, everyone — love and revere Violet Beauregarde, the obnoxious gum-chewing girl who becomes the victim of one of Wonka’s crueler and more ironic twists. The scene where Violet turns violet (Violet) is rightfully famous as one of the highlights of the film:
Violet was beautifully played by child actress Denise Nickerson who, according to her family’s Facebook updates, passed away yesterday. Nickerson, who was only 62, suffered a stroke in 2018 and never fully recovered. In recent weeks she came down with pneumonia and was also experiencing seizures.
Nickerson’s most famous role was certainly Willy Wonka’s Violet, but she appeared in numerous films and television shows during her period as a working actor. Before Wonka she was a recurring cast member on the cult soap opera Dark Shadows; after its premiere in 1971 she joined the classic children’s educational series The Electric Company. She also appeared on episodes of The Brady Bunch and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. She retired from acting in 1978 when she turned 21.
Nickerson reunited with the cast of Willy Wonka a few times in recent years, appearing at screenings and on television. As the years have gone on, the film’s reputation has grown, and people now recognize it as one of the premiere kids movies of all time. And Nickerson was brilliant as Violent. She shined brightly, in a particularly memorable shade of mauve.
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