'Willy Wonka' Actress Denise Nickerson Dies at 62

Denise Nickerson dies at 61
Left: Denise Nickerson pictured in 2014 (Steve Granitz/WireImage). Right: Nickerson as Violet Beauregarde (Paramount/Getty Images). L: Steve Granitz/WireImage R: Paramount/Getty Images

Denise Nickerson, the actress who played Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 movie "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," died on Wednesday. She was 62.

Nickerson's son, Josh, and his wife announced her passing in a Facebook post Wednesday night.

"She's gone," they wrote.

Nickerson had been under their care since suffering a stroke in June 2018. Her condition worsened on Monday after she caught pneumonia, and she was rushed to a Colorado hospital where she suffered a huge seizure, according to the family. Early Wednesday, they wrote on Facebook that she had been removed from machine support, including an IV drip giving her anti-seizure medicine and a "very strong oxygen pump."

"None of it was helping, but making her only more uncomfortable," they wrote in a post early Wednesday. "We’re telling her it’s okay to let go."

Nickerson, who was born in New York City in 1957, joined the cast of ABC's "Dark Shadows" in 1968. At 13, she landed the role of the spoiled, gum-snapping Violet Beauregarde in "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," alongside Gene Wilder. While touring the chocolate factory, her character chews a gum that causes her to swell and turn into a giant blueberry.

Later roles included Peter Brady's girlfriend on "The Brady Bunch." In 1978, she appeared in "Zero to Sixty," her last onscreen role.

In a 2016 interview with People, Nickerson reflected on her time working on "Willy Wonka."

"I’m a very fortunate lady to have been chosen to be a part of something that brings smiles to so many faces," she said.

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