Denise Nickerson made her TV debut at the age of 2, appearing in a commercial for a local heating firm. She didn’t stop acting for the next 20 years, becoming a go-to child actor for daytime TV soaps and appearing on The Phil Silvers Show (as Bill Bixby’s daughter, for some reason). In 1971 she was cast on Broadway in the musical version of Lolita. Strangely, a sing-and-dance take on Vladmir Nabokov’s tales about the degenerate perversions of man wasn’t a commercial success…. but luckily she had something else lined up.
Her career-defining role was, of course, Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Her performance as the gum-chewing brat was arguably the best of the five child actors, and her demise single-handedly invented inflation fetishism. Her acting career was brought to a premature end in the late 70s when she was involved in a car accident that left her hospitalised for nine months.
She suffered a stroke in late 2018 and a few deadpoolers “didn’t like the look of it….” Her death has now come in 2019 and there’s a possibility of an unnatural death bonus pending an autopsy (she had swallowed a lot of medication in the week prior to her death, but the official cause of death is currently pneumonia.)