Stephanie Hallett
August 31, 2016 12:25 pm
Getty Images/Silver Screen Collection

We’ve all been in mourning these last few days since the death of stage and screen legend Gene Wilder, who died at 83 from Alzheimer’s complications.

Many of Wilder’s cast mates from 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory have shared heartfelt tributes to their friend and mentor since his passing. The actress who played Veruca Salt, Julie Dawn Cole, made a beautiful statement to The Mirror a few days ago, and now actor who played Charlie Bucket has something to say.

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In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Peter Ostrum, who played Bucket, reflected on his on time on set with Wilder.

“I have very fond memories of Gene. Even though I was a youngster, he treated me with respect, like a fellow actor. He expected me to be professional, which I thought that I was. He was a great teacher.”

The pair played opposite each other in Wonka, with Wilder often improvising and surprising the cast. Ostrum remembers that Wilder unexpectedly somersaulted down the red carpet during the filming of Wonka’s grand entrance, startling the children around him.

Getty Images/Steve Granitz

“We had no idea that he was going to do that,” Ostrum said. “You’re seeing a genuine reaction.”

Julie Dawn Cole, also has fond memories of working with Wilder. She told The Mirror, “I had my 13th birthday during filming and he arranged for a photographer to come and take color stills of me, which were very rare back then.”

Talented and thoughtful. We couldn’t miss you more, Gene.

“He was an icon for our generation,” said Ostrum. “And a very humble man.”

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