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Forty-four years ago, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory premiered in theaters, and on Wednesday, six of the original castmembers appeared on Today to celebrate and share their memories from working on the film.
The group of five golden ticket winners and one Oompa Loompa revealed they have kept in touch, bound by the good fortune of appearing in the iconic film. “We think of ourselves as part of a family,” said Paris Themmen, who played Mike Teevee in the film. “Maybe a bit of a dysfunctional family, but a family really.”
All of the five child actors left show business after their turns in the film; of the group only Rusty Goffe, who played the chief Oompa Loompa, continues to act. As for the actor who played Charlie, Peter Ostrum, he doesn’t work in a chocolate factory. Instead, he’s a veterinarian.
Though the cast had plenty of happy memories, it turns out the movie’s chocolate river wasn’t so sweet.
“I’m sorry [the river wasn’t made of liquid chocolate]. It was water,” revealed Michael Bollner, who played the ever-ravenous Augustus Gloop.
“It was disgusting,” replied Goffe.
The group also reflected on the experience of working with the revered Gene Wilder.
“[There were] five kids clamoring all over, wanting attention. There was never any ‘Please, don’t bother Mr. Wilder.’ ” recalled Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt). “And we must have been pretty tiresome.”
“They were,” whispered Goffe.
Watch the full interview below.
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