Denise Nickerson, “Violet Beauregarde,” RIP
“Well, I’m a gum chewer, normally. But when I heard about these ticket things of Wonka’s, I laid off the gum and switched to candy bars, instead. Now, of course, I’m right back on gum. I chew it all day, except at mealtimes when I stick it behind my ear.” – Violet Beauregarde
Denise Nickerson, who at age 13 played the wonderfully sassy Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), has died. She was 62 and hadn’t fully recovered from a severe stroke last year. From Vanity Fair:
Nickerson’s first onscreen gig was an appearance in the series Flipper in 1965. She joined the cast of Dark Shadows in 1968, going on to play three characters in the series—Amy Jennings, Nora Collins, and Amy Collins. One year after her run on the ABC show, Nickerson made her big screen debut in Willy Wonka, playing one of the ill-fated children touring the factory in a clandestine competition to inherit the eccentric chocolatier’s fortune.
After Willy Wonka, Nickerson also joined the educational program The Electric Company as a member of the Short Circus—a five-member singing group aimed to boost viewers’ reading skills. After that, Nickerson took a handful of television and film roles before she retired from acting in 1978. Although many reports have said Nickerson retired to pursue nursing, her family clarified that she worked in doctors’ offices in a career they’d most closely identify as “accountant.
“Support for the family of Denise Nickerson” (GoFundMe)