Broadway Veteran Denise Nickerson Passes Away at 62
According to Variety, veteran of stage and screen Denise Nickerson, best known for starring as Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, passed away yesterday, July 10. Nickerson suffered a stroke in 2018. She was 62 years old.
Nickerson appeared in the ensemble of Sherry! on Broadway in 1967. In 1969 she starred as Rebecca Gibbs in Our Town.
Nickerson's big break came in 1968 when she joined the cast of ABC Daytime's Dark Shadows, appearing as recurring characters Amy Jennings and Nora Collins from 1968-1970. In 1971, Nickerson was cast as the nymphet Lolita in the 1971 ill-fated musical, Lolita, My Love during its run on Boston, which closed on the road. Also at this time, Nickerson landed her signature role as gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, when she was 13 years old.
From 1972-73, Nickerson joined the cast of The Electric Company as "Allison", a member of the Short Circus music group. Producers saw the potential in the fresh-faced Nickerson and had her singing lead on several songs, including "The Sweet Sweet Sway."
Nickerson created the role of Liza Walton on the CBS soap, Search for Tomorrow. She remained with the series until they decided to age the character and make her one of the show's romantic heroines.
Nickerson appeared in the 1978 films Zero to Sixty and TV film Child of Glass.