Willy Wonka’s ‘Violet Beauregarde’ Remembers Gene Wilder, Who Inspired ‘Pure Imagination’

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On film, the gum-chewing know-it-all Violet Beauregarde blew up into a blueberry in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. These days, the woman who played Violet, Denise Nickerson lives in Denver. She no longer acts, but she still reflects on the experience as magical.

Following Gene Wilder's death in August, Nickerson told People the first time she heard Wilder sing "Pure Imagination" on set was the moment he won her over. "He stole my heart," she said.

Related: Gene Wilder, Star Of "Willy Wonka" And "Young Frankenstein," Dies

And she's not the only one charmed by that song. After Wilder passed away, sales and streaming of the song "Pure Imagination" increased more than 1,000 percent, reported Billboard.

Tuesday night, the former actress and a few of her "Wonka" castmates will honor Wilder at the Alamo Drafthouse in Littleton. The theater hosts The Ultimate Willy Wonka Party, which includes a screening of the film.

Nickerson spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.

Photo: Willy Wonka Cast Photo
Cast members of "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory," from left, Denise Nickerson, who portrayed Violet Beauregarde, Paris Themmen, who portrayed Mike Teevee, Julie Cole, who portrayed Veruca Salt, and Rusty Goffe, who played the cart-wheeling Oompa-Loompa, gathered in 2011 to mark the film's 40th anniversary.