Denise Nickerson, a child actress best known for playing Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 classic “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” died late Wednesday at age 62, her family announced on Facebook.
Nickerson suffered a “major medical emergency” at home Monday that caused her to be admitted to the intensive care unit of a Colorado hospital, according to the Facebook page. She had suffered a severe stroke in June 2018.
She was best known for her role in the original “Willy Wonka,” playing the spoiled gum-chewing brat who steals an experimental piece of gum and then blows up like an oversize blueberry and has to be rolled out of sight by the Oompa-Loompas.
She also played Amy Jennings and Nora Collins in the vampire TV series “Dark Shadows” from 1968-70. Other credits included guest appearances in “The Brady Bunch” and “The Electric Company” as well as a role on the CBS soap “Search for Tomorrow.” In 1978, at age 21, she left Hollywood to pursue a career in nursing.
Nickerson’s family, including her son Josh and his wife, Jasmine, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her death expenses, including plans to honor “Denise’s wish … to be cremated and her ashes made into a piece of glass art.”