Diana Sowle, who played Charlie Bucket’s mother in the beloved 1971 film “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” has died at 88.
Sowle’s representative confirmed to BBC News and Yahoo that the actress passed away Friday morning surrounded by family.
“She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend, and will be dearly missed,” said a statement released by the rep.
Sowle made her onscreen debut in “Willy Wonka” as Mrs. Bucket, famously singing “Cheer Up Charlie” in one memorable scene.
“It’s nice that it’s still so popular, and the reason I think it’s so popular is — if you’re a parent, you can send your child to that movie, there’s no violence, there’s no bad language and no sex,” she told the Baltimore Sun in 2015 about the enduring popularity of “Willy Wonka.” “And kids love the thought of going to a chocolate factory and someone wins the golden ticket and they have all these bad kids and good kids, and the bad kids lose out because they try to grab (everything) for themselves.”
Speaking about the film more than 40 years after its original release, Sowles poked fun at the fact that Charlie took his Grandpa Joe to Willy Wonka’s factory instead of his mother.
“Charlie should’ve taken his mom,” she told the newspaper. “He should’ve said, ‘Oh, that’s wonderful. Now I can buy my mother a beautiful dress!’ Never happened.”
She was one of the last living adult cast members from the beloved film. Her co-star Gene Wilder, who played Willy Wonka, died in 2016 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
“We’d be working on a scene…and he would be coming in to film another scene, and he would join us on a lunch break and we’d have lunch,” Sowle told a public-access TV station from her home in Laurel, Maryland, about her time working with Wilder.
“He was so nice, he never acted like, ‘Oh I’m a bigger star than the rest of you’, he was always friendly and courteous and funny and told nice stories. I’m very sorry he passed away because I think he was a great talent and I think he was liked by many, many people.”
Sowle also appeared in the films “Clear And Present Danger” and “Guarding Tess,” both of which premiered in 1994.
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