Why Charlie Bucket from the original Willy Wonka chose to be a veterinarian rather than an actor
But, one thing that has been steady through the highs and the lows of the once child actor has been his love for chocolate
Do you remember Charlie Bucket from the original Willy Wonka movie in 1971? Of course, you do. Do you remember seeing him again on the big screen? Nope, because he chose a different career path hence, and now lives a quiet life with his family in New York state working as a vet specializing in large animals.
Peter Ostrum, who played the big blue-eyed character Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was one of the biggest child actors in history but now at 60, he lives a quiet life unlike many other high profile child actors.
In a Mirror interview, the child star explained how his life went straight back to normal after the 1971 movie, and he never acted again.
"Back then when the film came out there was no red carpet premiere," the father of two said. "I was in my hometown in Ohio and they had an opening there and I was the only one there," he added.
He also stated that once he decided to go back to his normal life, the film died a quiet death. “There was a little bit of fanfare but not much and the film died a quiet death," he admitted.
“It had lukewarm reviews and people forgot about it. It wasn’t until video 10 years later that it resurfaced and it took on a life of its own.”
More than 40 years ago Peter left his studies for the five months of filming in Germany but after that, he only rejected offers. Why? Because the idea to be away from his family put him off. Peter was offered a three-film deal but the experience of being away from home did not suit him well.
"I enjoyed doing it but I couldn’t really see myself doing it for the rest of my life," he confessed. "How many kids carry a successful child acting career into an adult acting career? The Jodie Fosters and Ron Howards you can count on one hand.
Peter said: "I get calls every time there’s a new version of the story or some fresh look at the film," he said. "You can’t kill Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... it keeps resurfacing in different formats," he added.
At that time there was no guarantee the movie would be a blockbuster. “We had no idea at the time that it would have any kind of success at all so it’s pretty neat that it is still so loved," said Peter. He finds contentment in knowing that the movie is still so well received. “I know my kids have read it and they liked it.”
Peter credits the success down to the moral themes running through the story, written in 1964 by Rald Dahl. “I have a great affection for the story idea that if you are honest and hardworking and do the right thing, good things happen to you,” he said.
“I think I just played myself in the film – in real life I am a horrible singer and they told me that they weren’t going to use my voice but they did," he joked.
“Acting was fine, but I wanted something more steady. The key is to find something you love doing, and that’s what I got.” But, one thing that has been steady ever since then is his love for chocolate. Does he still eat chocolate?
“You bet I do.”