Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Willy Wonkas chocolate factory turns 40

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Dear Ken: How old is Gene Wilder, and what happened to the boy who played Charlie Bucket with him in the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory?

Wilder is 78 and retired. I dont like show business, I realized, he said a few years ago. I like show, but I dont like the business. Child actor Peter Ostrum, 53, became a veterinarian and practices in Glenfield, N.Y. Earlier this month Warner Home Video released a limited and numbered Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collectors Edition as athree-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo that features a 144-page production book reprint filled with production photos and notes, and archival letters. Sweet premiums include a retro Wonka Bar-shaped tin box with scented pencils and eraser.

Dear Ken: I think I just spotted Garrett Morris in a new TV series, 2 Broke Girls. Am I right?

Yep. That is Morris, 74, one of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players of Saturday Night Live fame. Born in New Orleans, he was raised by his Baptist preacher grandfather and sang in the church choir. Later he trained at the Juilliard School of Music and turned professional performing with the Harry Belafonte singers. Before his SNL days, he was featured in several Broadway musicals. Like baseball, life has been berra berra good to he.

Dear Ken: I remember a fantasy Western with Tony Randall playing all sort of characters. Can you help me find the title?

That is a marvelous gift from Randall from 1964 as he portrayed Dr. Lao, the abominable snowman, Merlin the magician, Apollonius of Tyana, Pan, a giant serpent and Medusa. His co-stars were Barbara Eden, Arthur McConnell and Noah Beery Jr.

Dear Ken: Please share some background on Shenae Grimes of 90210.

Grimes, who turns 22 this week, was born in Toronto, Canada, and previously starred in the TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation. She did a comedic cameo in Scream 4. A huge fan of the original Beverly Hills 90210, the actress was in a music video for the band Our Lady Peace in their single, All You Did Was Save My Life.

If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck at

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