Peter Ostrum (Actor) - Willa Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
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Updated: 12/14/11

Name: Peter Ostrum

Born: November 1, 1957 in Dallas, Texas

Claim To Fame: He is known for playing Charlie Bucket in the 1971 motion picture Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Family Life: He has a wife, Loretta, and two children, a son Leif and daughter Helenka.

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Info: Ostrum was performing at the Cleveland Play House children's theatre in sixth grade when he was noticed by talent agents who were on the hunt for someone to play Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

They took some Polaroids of Ostrum and had him read from the original novel. Two months later he was called for a screen test in New York where he sang "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," and a month after that he was called and given 10 days to leave for filming.

Willy Wonka ended up being Ostrum's only film, even though he was offered a three-film contact after Willa Wonka finished production. He was later quoted as saying, "[e]verybody thinks that acting is such a glamorous profession, but it's a difficult profession."

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Trivia: Recalled that shooting Willy Wonka in Munich was "sort of like being an exchange student for five months."

He placed 78th on VH1's list of "100 Greatest Kid Stars."

Was invited to speak to students at Lowville Academy by teacher Carol Reed in 1990, and has since spoken to students there once a year about his experience with Willy Wonka as well as his work in veterinary medicine.

Willy Wonka director Mel Stuart gave him a clapperboard from the film, and then forgot he had done so; it is Ostrum's only souvenir from the set.

Both Denise Nickerson and Julie Dawn Cole admit that they had crushes on him during the time they made Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) together.

He is the youngest of four children.

Teamed up with Dunkin' Donuts in 2009 to hand out free rides on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) at South Station in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Where Are They Now: After Willy Wonka, Ostrum left acting to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. His interest in this field began after his family acquired a horse and he found himself impressed by the animal's veterinarian.

He worked for awhile at the Delaware Equine Center before going back to school and obtaining his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984.

He resides in Lowville, New York, and works out of the Countryside Veterinary Clinic. He has been followed twice while on the job by Pfizer's video series Veterinarians on Call.

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