RIP: 'Willy Wonka' Star Denise Nickerson Passes Away At 62, A Year After Serious Stroke

RIP: 'Willy Wonka' Star Denise Nickerson Passes Away At 62, A Year After Serious Stroke

After surviving a stroke in 2018, Denise was not doing too well, but her health deteriorated recently and she had to be hospitalized.

Denise Nickerson, who played the role of  Violet Beauregarde as a child in the 1971 novel adaption of Ronald Dahl's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has passed away on Wednesday night. The news of the 62-year-old's death surfaced after her family took to Facebook to confirm it.

It read: She's gone. Denise, who secured a chance to work opposite Gene Wilder at the young age of 13, survived a stroke last year. However, in the past few days, her health seemed to have deteriorated quite a lot, reported BBC News.


Denise, who is survived by her son Joshua and daughter-in-law Jasmine, did their best to get her back to her former health. Pertaining to this health crisis, her family set up a GoFundMe page on Tuesday to cover Nickerson's medical charges.

Sharing the same information on Facebook they wrote: Everyone, We set up a GoFundMe whilst pacing the hospital room tonight. I'm sorry we are asking for help but we....We can't do it on our own. We need help. Anything you can spare is a big help. Even if you can't donate simply sharing the link, and sharing our story so we can send Denise off and get some help and peace over the next few months would be so amazing.


The former child actress was loved by everyone and that fact was evident when the goal amount of $10,000 was raised in less than a day. The page also informed how Denise got into her medicine cabinet on Monday and took as many as she could in the absence of her son and daughter-in-law.

Josh reportedly had to rush her to the ER immediately. In the due course, she caught pneumonia and the following day suffered a massive seizure. This recent event, coupled with the weakness she still had from her stroke last year, hindered her respiratory functions.  


Denise's family then followed up with another post that contained an update on Nickerson's condition. It read: We spent all day in the ER and she was finally moved into the ICU last night. She's had seizures this morning and is in pulmonary and respiratory distress. The doctors have found that she aspirated and has developed pneumonia. They have upped her oxygen. She's under a DNR order so they aren't putting her on a ventilator or feeding tube and right now we just have to wait for updates.


Born in 1957 in New York City, Denise was cast as Amy Jennings and Nora Collins for her first television roles on the gothic US soap opera Dark Shadows. Prior to being cast in the iconic role of the gum-chewing brat Violet Beauregarde, Denise was cast in the musical John Barry's musical Lolita, My Love in 1971.

Her other works included her role of Liza Walton on CBS's Search for Tomorrow and she also secured a role in The Man Who Could Talk to Kids opposite Peter Boyle. She also appeared in The Brady Bunch and The Electric Company. After some brilliant performances, her acting career came to an end.


After her first husband Rick Keller sadly died due to a brain aneurysm in 1983, she remarried and had her only son Josh with Mark Willard, who she divorced in 1998. While several reports stated that Denise was taken off life support, her family wrote in a Facebook denying such claims.

It read: Denise was not taken off life support. She has a DNR in place. She was never ON life support. She simply had basic machines running like the IV drip with antibiotics and anti seizure meds, and a very strong oxygen pump (not a ventilator which is a life support device).


It continued: We stopped the use of those at 4 am because it wasn't helping her. She was declining just as fast with the machines running as she has without them running. They were just making her uncomfortable and were unnecessary to stop or fix the problems she's having. She's surviving at a base level, while much longer than anticipated, she's not suffering but also not being "rushed" along. Sadly, the 62-year-old never got to meet her granddaughter who is due this August, according to their GoFundMePage.


Following the death of her beloved actor Gene Wilder in 2016, Denise said, "He was such a kind, tender-hearted man. And for him to put up with us, my God what patience he must've needed for five of us running around."

Speaking to Fox News, her co-star, actress Julie Dawn Cole, who was cast in the role of the spoilt Veruca Salt, said in a statement: "It is dreadfully sad." She continued: "Denise has been like a sister to me and we were very close. She had a massive stroke last July and never really recovered. Paris [Themmen] (who played Mike Teevee) and I went to visit her in September. It was a very sad visit as she couldn't verbally communicate. But we sang songs - 'Willy Wonka' of course! And that made her smile and laugh."


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