Mel Stuart Dies: ‘Willy Wonka’ Director Succumbs To Cancer
Mel Stuart, longtime Hollywood producer and director of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, has died in his Beverly Hills home at age 83.
His daughter said that Stuart died on Thursday night, USA Today reported. Mel Stuart had been suffering from cancer.
Mel Stuart produced and directed several documentaries including The Making of the President, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and Four Days in November. Stuart spent 17 years in Hollywood teaming with David Wolper as an executive in the Wolper Organization. The company was acquired by Warner Bros. in 1977, and Stuart was an independent director and producer ever since.
Most famous for his directing Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Mel Stuart earned a number of accolades during his career. He won four Emmies and a Peabody Award, and, though he received an Oscar nomination, he was never able to break through in the Academy Awards.
Mel Stuart broke through with the 1973 film Wattstax, which documented the Wattstax music festival and Watts area of Los Angeles’ in the wake of the 1965 riots that drastically changed the area, Hollywood Reported noted.
Other credits for Mel Stuart included features for PBS’s American Masters on director Billy Wilder and artist Man Ray. Stuart was also a producer on the 1980s series Ripley’s Believe It or Not. His work in television to various dramas including The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal, Ruby and Oswald. His work on the the 1981 TV film Bill earned Mel Stuart a Golden Globe and Peabody award.
Mel Stuart’s work continued into his late 70s with his 2005 profile of an inner-city Los Angeles teacher in The Hobart Shakespeareans.