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Heroes of Cult: Denise Nickerson – The Girl famous for being a Blueberry

Denise Nickerson, the child star who was most famous for just one role, that of Violet Beauregarde in the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

Born on April 1st 1957 in New York City, Denise’s family moved to Florida just after she was born, and at the age of 2 appeared in a TV advert for a Florida Heating Company.  She was discovered at the age of 4 by a local playhouse director and ended up playing Wendy’s daughter in the playhouse’s rendition of Peter Pan before her parents moved back to New York City.

During the 60’s she made appearances in various television shows before getting her big break in a daytime show called Dark Shadows.  Prior to co-starring in Willy Wonka, she appeared in the television movie The Neon Ceiling.

After Willy Wonka, She made some appearances in television programs and adverts, chewing gum, typewriters and babies nappies.

In 1978 she quit acting and found that her parents had squandered her savings and began a career in nursing that ended up being a doctor’s receptionist.

Apart from cast reunions for Willy Wonka, she kept out of the spotlight. She had two marriages, the first her husband died of a brain aneurysm, the second ended in divorce but produced a son.

In June 2018, she suffered a severe stroke and spent a couple of months in hospital before being taken into care amongst her family.  In July 2019 she ingested various medication whilst alone at home, her Son found her in respiratory distress and rushed her to hospital.  Whilst in intensive care she developed pneumonia which caused a seizure and she slipped into a coma, and due to her having a “Do Not Resuscitate” order in place, her family removed her from life support and she died on July 10th at the age of 62.

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