01:11 AM EDT 08/24/2014

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Willy Wonka Actor Dies

Willy Wonka Actor Dies

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.

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