June 11, 1933 - August 29, 2016
better known by his stage name
When offered the role of Willy Wonka by Mel Stuart Wilder agreed with one condition:
When I make my first entrance, I'd like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I'm walking on and stands straight up, by itself... but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.
Stuart asked why and Wilder's reply was:
"Because from that time on, no one will know if I'm lying or telling the truth."