The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released in 1971, that was 40 years ago. It was a movie that withstood the generational gap and was remade a couple of years ago. Leonard Stone was a small part of the original movie cast best known as Violet's dad, but he was much more than that, he passed away Wednesday of cancer at the age of 87. Just one day before his 88th birthday.

This is a strange coincidence. He and I share a birthday November 4th and it just so happens that it will be my 40th birthday. I was born the same year Willy Wonka was released. Stone played Violet Beauregard's father in the film. You'll remember Violet loved bubble gum and chewed the gum that turned her purple and blew her up like a big blueberry. The movie just celebrated it's 40th anniversary on October 18th of this year.

Leonard was not just Violet's dad. He was also a Broadway star earning a Tony nomination for his role in the 1959 production of the musical "Redhead". He also had roles on television in shows such as L.A. Law, M*A*S*H, Mission:Impossible and even appeared on Wheel of Fortune.