10:09 AM EDT 12/22/2014
Originally posted 11/03/2011 02:00PM
Character actor Leonard Stone, who played Sam Beauregard, the brash American father of gum-smacking Violet Beauregard in the 1971 children's movie musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, died from cancer on Wednesday, his family confirms to PEOPLE. He would have turned 88 on Thursday.
With extensive TV credits dating back to the mid-1950s, Stone, a native of Salem, Oregon, appeared on such shows as L.A. Law (as Judge Paul Hanson), General Hospital, M*A*S*H, Hill Street Blues, Night Court, Alice, Barney Miller, All in the Family and Mission: Impossible, according to the Internet Movie Database.
In Willy Wonka, based on the 1964 Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Violet (Denise Nickerson) fails to follow the strict rules set down by the candymaker (Gene Wilder) and ends up turning into a blueberry, much to the dismay of her father.
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
Bruce Jenner Is 'Transitioning into a Woman,' Source Confirms to PEOPLE
Bobbi Kristina Brown Hospitalized After Being Found Unresponsive in Tub
Bobbi Kristina Brown: Inside the Troubled Life of Whitney Houston's Daughter
Bobbi Kristina's Husband Is Not the Bad Guy, Says Source
Pup Surprises Soldier Mom at Airport and They Can't Stop Crying Tears of Joy
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!