Chocolate Factory's Charlie Pays Tribute To Gene Wilder

The actor who starred as Charlie alongside Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory has said the star's death is "like losing a parent".

Peter Ostrum, who quit acting after playing Charlie Bucket as a 12-year-old, said Wilder had taken him under his wing on the set of the 1971 film in Munich, Germany.

The actor died surrounded by his family at the age of 83 on Sunday after suffering from complications linked to Alzheimer's disease.

Ostrum told Variety: "It's kind of like losing a parent. You know it's going to happen, but it's still a shock.

:: Willy Wonka Actor Gene Wilder Dies Aged 83

"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'.

"He was a gentle man, but he was also a gentleman. He treated people with respect and dignity."

Ostrum, now 58, turned down a three-year movie deal after filming the Roald Dahl book adaptation - later becoming a vet and moving to rural New York state with his family.

He said he had never set foot on a film set before he met Wilder.

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He said: "He was the pro and I was the rookie. They would break for lunch and Gene and I would always buy a chocolate bar and share it on the way back to the set.

"He was so quirky. You never knew what to expect from Gene.

"He never let on how he was going to read a line or convey an expression.

"That's why the film works - because he made Wonka so unpredictable."