(NEW YORK) — A day after the passing of Gene Wilder, the tributes to the Oscar nominated actor are still rolling in — this time, from the grown-ups who were just kids when they worked with him on the set of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.
Pete Ostrum played good-natured Charlie Bucket in the 1971 classic — and despite offers to continue a big-screen career, he decided to leave Hollywood behind. He became a Cornell-educated veterinarian who still works in Lowville, New York.
In an exclusive email to ABC News, Dr. Ostrum said, “Lots to remember…Few actors have had such a great impact on the film industry as Gene did. Gene’s wit and humor spoke to many generations of film audiences. He was a unique talent that brought joy to all of us that followed his long career. As a young actor filming Willy Wonka, I had the rare privilege of working with Gene who I greatly admired. He became my mentor and personal friend. For that I will always be grateful. So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
They might not have gotten along with him onscreen, but the other children from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory remembered fondly the actor who immortalized Willy Wonka on the silver screen.
The remaining golden ticket winners — who were ultimately undone by their bad behavior in the movie — took to social media to pay tribute to the late Wilder.
Julie Dawn Cole, who played the bratty Veruca Salt, and Denise Nickerson, who played the gum-chomping Violet Beauregarde, expressed their condolences via Twitter.
“Such very sad news. Words not enough. Treasured memories,” Cole wrote.
“RIP Gene. You were so talented and kindhearted. You will be sorely missed by so many. All of us have lost OUR Willy Wonka. Love, Violet” Nickerson tweeted.
Actor Paris Themmen, who played Mike Teevee, changed his Facebook cover photo to honor Wilder’s life.
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