Most people know Peter Ostrum as the child actor who portrayed the role of Charlie in the iconic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Many people also know that he did not pursue an acting career after that one, albeit, unforgettable role. Did you, however, know that Ostrum had never been on a film set prior to the shooting of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Did you also know that the former child star still receives royalties from the iconic movie to this day?
Well, if you didn’t know these facts, then read on and discover more interesting titbits about Ostrum.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Peter Ostrum
He is the youngest of four siblings
Peter Gardener Ostrum was born on the 1st of November 1957 in Dallas, Texas. His father’s name was Dean Gardner Ostrum while his mother’s name was Sarepta Mabel. The former child star also has three elder siblings but their names are not currently available. Ostrum grew up in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio and attended Malvern Elementary School. He also joined the Cleveland Play House Children’s Theatre and partook in several of their productions.
How he became an actor
While taking part in a play at the children’s theatre, Ostrum was spotted by agents who were searching for kids that would feature in an upcoming film. The agents were impressed by Ostrum’s sincerity and genuineness and three months later, he landed the role of Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – a 1971 musical/fantasy film about five children from around the world, who won a golden ticket to explore the famed chocolate factory. In the movie, Ostrum portrayed Charlie, a sweet boy from a humble background who luckily nabs the last golden ticket. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was only a mild commercial success at the time of its release. It, however, grew to be quite popular, thanks to repeated TV airings and home entertainment medium.
Peter Ostrum has never appeared in another movie since Willie Wonka
After the filming of Willy Wonka, Peter Ostrum was offered a contract to feature in three other movies. The young boy, however, declined as he wanted to retain control over his prospective acting career. He subsequently returned to Cleveland and continued his education. Ostrum started doing theatre in his senior year and this reignited his interest in acting. He auditioned for several parts but failed to land any. He also headed out to Hollywood for some time but roles failed to materialize. Ostrum subsequently decided to close that chapter of his life. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory thus remains the only movie that he has featured in till date. The Cleveland native still participates in events associated with the iconic movie. He has discussed the film at film festivals and school events. He has also reunited with his former co-stars to mark important anniversaries of the film.
Peter Ostrum is now a veterinarian
Peter Ostrum first became fascinated with animal care after his family acquired a horse. A veterinarian often came to take care of the horse and Ostrum was impressed by the obvious joy that the man derived from his work. He, therefore, decided at an early age that he would only pursue a career that would bring him joy. Ostrum completed his high school diploma at North Hunterdon High School, New Jersey. He thereafter enrolled in Cornell University and received his doctor of veterinary medicine in 1984. Ostrum is now an accomplished veterinarian, specializing in large animals and is based in Lowville, New York. Ostrum is not the only Willy Wonka star to get a regular job. Two of his former co-stars, Denise Nickerson and Michael Bolner, are now accountants.
He is married to an artist
Ostrum is married to the accomplished artist, Loretta Lepkowski. Lepkowski is a native of Tug Hill, upstate New York. She specialized in painting portraits of working people in mediums such as watercolor, pastel, and acrylic. Her favorite subjects are good and honest ordinary folks whom she believes are worthy of preservation through portraiture. Lepkowski has taken part in several exhibits, including Bridging Tug Hill to the Adirondacks and Venerable Folks of Tug Hill. Ostrum and his wife tied the knot in 1987/88 and the couple now has two kids together namely daughter, Helenka, and son, Leif. Helenka is a wine and food connoisseur. She has worked in different sectors of the food industry and has also taught cooking, nutrition and gardening classes to youngsters. She is also a member of the Good Food Sandhills; an organization that is dedicated to helping local youths and citizens make healthier and sustainable food choices.