Willy Wonka Star Denise Nickerson Taken off Life Support

Denise Nickerson, perhaps best known for her role as Violet Beauregarde in the classic 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, has been taken off of life support after a major medical emergency a few days prior.

In a message shared to Facebook on Wednesday, Nickerson's family announced that they had decided to halt treatment as the actress had suffered a massive seizure and was not responding to treatment.

"They just took off all the equipment. None of it was helping, but making her only more uncomfortable," the statement reads. "We're telling her it's okay to let go."

Nickerson, who is 62 years old, had previously suffered a severe stroke in 2018 and has been cared for her son and daughter-in-law since. According to a GoFundMe page established by the family, "got into her medicines and took as much as she could" before being stopped by her son and taken to the emergency room. She reportedly developed pneumonia following this event and on Tuesday morning suffered a massive seizure that, along with issues from her stroke last year, led to multiple issues. She has been in a coma-like state since.

We've been up here with her most of the day and she's experienced multiple additional seizures", the GoFundMe page reads. "At 3 am (07/10/19) we decided because the machines and medicines are not helping her but only making her more uncomfortable, that it’s okay to stop administering these things to her. We are heartbroken and reliving a grief we've lived every single day since she had the stroke over a year ago.

We don't know how much time she has. It could be minutes. It could be hours. But no matter what, she's already gone. We are sitting here with her just trying to keep her comfortable and let her know it's okay."


Nickerson was only 13-years-old when she starred in Willy Wonka as Violet who, famously turned into a blueberry after sampling an experimental chewing gum containing a three-course meal despite Wonka's (played by Gene Wilder) warnings not to. She also appeared on the CBS soap opera Search for Tomorrow, The Electric Company, and even appeared on The Brady Bunch among other credits before leaving Hollywood in 1978 to pursue a career in nursing. Despite having left Hollywood, Nickerson seemed to cherish her role in Willy Wonka, coming together with her co-stars for a reunion in 2015 as well as taking to Twitter to honor Wilder when he died in 2016.

"RIP Gene," she wrote at the time. "You were so talented and kindhearted. You will be sorely missed by so many. All of us have lost OUR Willy Wonka. Love, Violet."