Gene Wilder's 'Willy Wonka' Costars Pay Tribute to Him: 'All of Us Have Lost OUR Willy Wonka'

Several of the child actors from the classic film mourned the loss of its star on social media

Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

They have not have won themselves a chocolate factory, but the child stars from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory scored more than a golden ticket from their time with the late Gene Wilder.

Following news of the legendary actor’s passing on Sunday from complications from Alzheimer’s disease, Wilder’s costars from the 1971 classic mourned his loss on social media.

The woman who brought gum-loving Violet Beauregarde to life onscreen, Denise Nickerson, shared her sadness on Twitter.

“RIP Gene. You were so talented and kindhearted. You will be sorely missed by so many. All of us have lost OUR Willy Wonka,” Nickerson wrote. She signed the message, “Love, Violet.”

Julie Dawn Cole, who portrayed spoiled brat Veruca Salt in the movie, also took to social media to express her condolences.

“Such very sad news. Words not enough. Treasured memories,” she wrote along with a teardrop emoji.

Cole, who retweeted numerous tributes to the great actor, also shared a quote from Wilder.

“Time is a precious thing, never waste it,” she wrote.

Cole remembered times on set with the talented actor, who was always kind to the young cast.

“He was so patient with us kids! I was out on the movie for three months, and I didn’t have any family with me,” she told ITV. “He used to sit and tell me stories, and just a very, very kind person. Always generous. Always helping you to get your moment.”

Paris Themmen, who played the rambunctious Mike Teevee, paid tribute to Wilder on social media as well, changing the cover photo on his Facebook page to a scene from the film where the glass elevator is flying around town. “Gene Wilder 1933-2016” is inscribed on the photo.

Rusty Goffe, an English actor who portrayed an Oompa Loompa in the film, had nothing but praise for the man who will always live on as Willy Wonka.

“Gene Wilder was one of the nicest if not THE nicest actor I have ever worked with,” Goffe shared. “I learnt a lot from him. A true star. Thank you Mr Wonka.”

Wilder died at age 83 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease Sunday night at his home in Stamford, Connecticut, his nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, said in a statement.

Despite living with the disease for three years, the actor chose to keep his health issues secret.

The statement read, “The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him ‘there’s Willy Wonka,’ would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.”

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