Peter Ostrum

Return to list Book Now



Ostrum was in the sixth grade and performing at the Cleveland Play House children’s theatre, when he was noticed by talent agents who were searching nationwide for the actor to portray Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The agents took Polaroid photos of Ostrum and recorded him reading from the original novel, then returned to New York. Two months later Ostrum was called to New York for a screen test where he sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, and a month after that he was contacted and given ten days to prepare to leave for filming.

In 2000, Ostrum recalled that shooting Willy Wonka in Munich was “sort of like being an exchange student for five months”. Fond memories of his five months in West Germany included watching the construction of Olympiapark, Munich, for the 1972 Summer Olympics, and working with Gene Wilder and Jack Albertson. Though in his audition he had been assured that his singing would probably be cut and dubbed, it was Ostrum’s own singing voice that made it to the screen—albeit significantly cut. In a 2011 interview, Ostrum told the story of how director Mel Stuart gave him a clapperboard from the film, and then forgot he had done so; it is Ostrum’s only souvenir from the set. After he finished shooting Willy Wonka, the then 13-year-old Ostrum declined the offer of a three-film contract, later recalling that “[e]verybody thinks that acting is such a glamorous profession, but it’s a difficult profession.”


2007 Sicko (Documentary) (performer: ” (I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket”)

1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

2005 Citizen Candy Man: A Chocumentary (Short) (everlasting thanks)

2014 Oprah: Where Are They Now? (TV Series)

2011 Veterinarians On Call (Video short)

2011 Top Chef: Just Desserts (TV Series)
– Pure Imagination (2011) … Himself

2005 The 100 Greatest Family Films (TV Movie documentary)

2005 Best Ever Family Films (TV Movie documentary)

2005 The Greatest (TV Series documentary)
– 100 Greatest Kid Stars (2005) … Himself

2003 After They Were Famous (TV Series documentary)
– Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (2003) … Himself

2003 Child Stars: Then and Now (TV Special documentary)

2001 Pure Imagination: The Story of ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ (Video documentary short)

2008 Role Model: Gene Wilder (TV Movie documentary)
Charlie Bucket (uncredited)

2000 Gilmore Girls (TV Series)
Charlie Bucket
– Kiss and Tell (2000) … Charlie Bucket (uncredited)