Peter-Ostrum
Peter Ostrum | Biography

Quick Wiki

  • Full Name Peter Gardner Ostrum
  • Occupation Former child actor, Veterinarian
  • Nationality American
  • Birthplace Dallas, Texas
  • Birth Date Nov 01, 1957
  • Age 64 Years, 6 Months
  • Net Worth $500 thousand (Celebrity Net Worth)
Charlie Bucket in the 1971 Musical Fantasy Film 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory'

Peter Ostrum | Biography

Senior partner at the Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Lowville, New York

Ostrum received an offer of a three-picture deal after excelling as an actor on his debut film, but he declined the offer to pursue a different career path. In an interview with the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2000, he said that he left acting because he wanted a steadier profession, which he loves doing. 


Peter Ostrum is an American veterinarian and onetime child actor who famously played Charlie Bucket in the 1971 musical fantasy movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Who is Peter Ostrum?

Peter Ostrum is a former child actor who performed in local children's productions before landing his breakout role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

However, it was his first and last film, as he later pursued a career as a veterinarian. Ostrum now works as a veterinarian and a  senior partner with the Countryside Veterinary Clinic (primarily working with horses and cows) and a managing partner with Dairy Health & Management Services in Lowville, New York. Ostrum also appeared in Veterinarians on Call, a Pfizer-sponsored film series highlighting the job of large animal veterinarians.

Early Bio and Teenager

Peter Ostrum was born Peter Gardner Ostrum as the youngest of four children of Sarepta Mabel (née Pierpont) and Dean Gardner Ostrum on 1 November 1957 in Dallas, Texas. As a child, he grew up in three different cities - Dallas, Cleveland, and Newark. 

Ostrum began acting at a young age in local children's theater productions in Cleveland, Ohio. At age 12, he was discovered by talent scouts for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which subsequently led him to a role as Charlie Bucket in the film. 

The agents took the Polaroid images of Ostrum and also recorded him reading from the original novel. Two months later, Ostrum was invited to New York for a screen test in which he performed  ‘My Country, 'Tis of Thee.’ The following month, he was contacted and given 10 days to prepare for filming.

He then spent five months in Germany while shooting for the film. Following its completion, Ostrum returned home and soon developed a passion for becoming a veterinarian as he became influenced by veterinarian work on his family's horse. 

'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a musical fantasy film adapted from Roald Dahl's popular children's book titled 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' published in 1964. Directed by Mel Stuart, the film was released on 30 June 1971. 

Ostrum portrayed the role of Charlie Bucket, a young, poor boy who aims to win one of the five coveted golden tickets to go on a tour of the mysterious chocolate factory of Willy Wonka (played by Gene Wilder). 

On 29 June 2021, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment released a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack and digital version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to commemorate the film's 50th anniversary. The release contained previously released extra features.

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In a subsequent virtual interview with Collider, Ostrum said that he doesn't watch his only film often but has good memories of the film. "I don't watch it that often. Every couple years, it's fun to go back and relive this event. It's like watching a home movie," he said.

"We were all 12, turned 13, during the film, so you remember. I can remember almost every day on the set, what was happening when we were filming. It brings back a lot of memories, but for the most part, they're all positive, really good memories," Ostrum added.

Why Did Peter Ostrum Stop Acting?

Ostrum received an offer of a three-picture deal after excelling as an actor on his debut film, but he declined the offer to pursue a different career path. In an interview with the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2000, he said that he left acting because he wanted a steadier profession, which he loves doing. 

After returning home from shooting his debut film, Ostrum found his parents had brought a horse for the family. He quickly developed an interest in horses. The veterinarian particularly influenced him, who tended his family's horse. 

"I can remember the veterinarian coming out and taking care of the horses, and it made a huge impression on me," Ostrum said. "This person really enjoyed what he did for a living. My father was a lawyer, and I really didn't have a clue what he did all day. But I knew exactly what the veterinarian did. Someone making a living from something he enjoyed so much really sparked my interest."

Ostrum considered returning to Hollywood and even spent a week in California to "test the waters." However, he eventually opted to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine instead, believing that he would berate himself for the rest of his life if he did not.

Upon graduating from Hunterdon Regional High School, he groomed horses and worked at the Delaware Equine Center in Pennsylvania before joining his college. He later graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1984 from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and then pursued a successful career in veterinary medicine.

"Acting was fine, but I wanted something more steady, and the key is to find something that you love doing, and that's what my profession has given to me," Ostrum noted.

Personal Life

Ostrum has been married to his wife, artist Loretta Lepkowski, since 1987. The couple together has two children, daughter Helenka and son Leif.

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