Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
social
Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News.
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
social
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Peter Ostrum

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Famous For:
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Networth:
$500,000
Currently Known For:
Retired Actor
Famous Years:
1971 - 1972
Birthdate:
November 1, 1957
Peter Ostrum


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  famous for:
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

  networth:
$500,000

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It’s the dream of a lot of young people to become a major star in Hollywood. Landing that one big role as a kid can set you up for a lifetime of major films, but not everybody decides that they’re cut out for the business. While you might not be familiar with his name off hand, Peter Ostrum is someone that just about all of us have seen. He starred in just one movie during his career and it ended up being a long remembered role, deciding to walk away from acting and start a new career of his own.Advertisements:

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Ostrum came from Dallas, Texas, where he was born on November 1, 1957, but spent most of his young years in Cleveland. From an early age, Ostrum developed a skill and interest for acting, appearing on stage in his hometown. When it was announced that Roald Dahl’s famous book, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” was being developed into a movie, producers and casting agents embarked on a search to find someone that would play the main character of Charlie Bucket.

It was a rather lengthy process, but Ostrum was ultimately selected for the role after he prepared a screen test for producers. “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” was then released on June 30, 1971 with a budget of $3 million. In its box office run, the film barely scratched out a profit with $4 million pulled in at the box office. However, the film has since become a classic thanks to the amount of people that have bought or rented the video or watched it on television.

“When it first opened at the box office, it had poor to lukewarm reviews at best, and died a quiet death then,” Ostrum said. “It was really TV showing and home video that really launched its resurfacing, and then DVD gave it another revival. Now we’re getting to the point where the generation that first saw it was showing it to their children, and now I think we’re on the grandchildren.”

Ostrum got to work with legendary comedic actor Gene Wilder, who took Ostrum under his wing while filming in Munich, Germany. “I have very fond memories of Gene,” Ostrum said of the late actor. “Even though I was a youngster, he treated me with respect, like a fellow actor. He expected me to be professional, which I thought I was. He was a great teacher.”

When Wilder passed away in 2016, Ostrum said that “It’s kind of like losing a parent,” adding that “You know it’s going to happen, but it’s still a shock. He was not in good health at the end and it was not unexpected by any means, but when it happens it hits you like, ‘Gene is gone and there will never be anyone like him again.’”

Because of how well he performed in the film, Ostrum was offered a fairly lucrative contract by producer David Lloyd Wolper. The contract would’ve been for at least three more films, and likely would’ve set Ostrum up for life financially and career-wise. However, Ostrum decided that he didn’t want to force himself into acting while he was still in school.

Many thought that Ostrum was out of his mind to turn down such an opportunity, but he was able to get away from the spotlight. Since starring in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, Ostrum has been working in other jobs. After he finished high school, Ostrum went to college to learn to become a veterenarian. He had moved to Pennsylvania and eventually New York, earning his degree at the Ivy League school of Cornell. He’s been working in the field for years now, and has also done some public speaking and appearances related to his famous film role.

“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factor” has since been remade with Johnny Depp starring in the role that Wilder made famous. “Julie Dawn Cole, who played Veruca in the original film, had a wonderful analogy that I’ll use,” ostrum said of the remake. “It’s sort of like going back to a house that you once lived in that’s been redecorated.”

Going back to the film that established the temporary fame for Ostrum, he said that “The film was a life changing event because it was shot in Munich,” adding that “There wasn’t any glitz and glamour on set. We were young teenagers and we were expected to work as young adults and be professional, so that meant showing up on time, knowing your lines and there wasn’t any messing about. I soon came to the realization that acting was a lot of work.”

As for how much money that his one film role has brought in, there isn’t much in terms of royalties these days. Ostrum receives a check every few months for around $10 from the film, but the initial payday that he received helped him begin his career as a veterenarian. “Looking back, my paycheck was paltry, but it was during filming that I really became interested in medicine,” Ostrum said. “So I bought my first horse with my earnings and that started my current career path as a vet.”

It does come as a bit of a surprise to Ostrum that so many people still recognize him for his movie. “It came about the 25th anniversary when I finally realized that, wow, people were still watching the film and cares about what happened to all of us,” he said.

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