Julie Dawn Cole

Julie Dawn Cole (born 26 October 1957) is an English actress, singer, author, and psychotherapist who has been active for more than 40 years. She began as a child performer in what remains her best-remembered film, 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, playing Veruca Salt.

Julie Dawn Cole
Cole in November 2017
Born (1957-10-26) 26 October 1957
  • Actress
  • singer
  • psychotherapist
  • author
Years active
  • 1970–2013 (Actress)
  • 2007–present (Psychotherapist)
Known for
Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Arabella in And Mother Makes Three (1971-73)

Jo Longhurst in Angels (1975-76)

Rowella in Poldark (1977)

Lucy Deane in The Mill on the Floss (1978)

Nick Wilton
(m. 1991; div. 2002)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Raised in Guildford, Surrey, Cole was twelve when she was cast in the supporting role during the project's pre-production phase in the first half of 1970 which was filmed at the Bavaria Film Studios.

The film debuted in New York on 30 June 1971 and in London the following week, with Cole chosen to present a bouquet of flowers to Princess Margaret at the Royal Premiere. She and Willy Wonka's other pre-adolescent "leading lady," American Denise Nickerson (Violet Beauregarde), both had crushes on Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket), also an American, and alternated days spending time with him while there were breaks in filming.[1]

After Willy Wonka

Immediately after returning from Willy Wonka, Cole was cast in a re-occurring role on the ITV sitcom, And Mother Makes Three, in which she played Arabella, a stuck up and snobbish teenaged girl. After the success of the show, Cole continued to have a series of steady job offers.

From 1971 to 1974 she acted in several TV series, and was often type casted in the mold of a “bad girl”: she played a delinquent who broke into a house on an episode of ITV series, Saturday Night Theater; and a juvenile offender on an episode of the prison drama series, Within These Walls. Occasionally she was cast in other molds, on an episode of the Orson Welles' Great Mysteries series, she played a murder victim.

She made her next theatrical appearance in the British-German comedy film, That Lucky Touch, opposite Sir Rodger Moore. In this film she played the daughter of Shelly Winters and Lee J. Cobb. Julie also found recognition playing Alice (from Alice In Wonderland) in a two minute Christmas commercial for Woolworths.

In 1975, Cole got her breakout role being cast as one of the leading characters in the BBC medical drama, Angels. Breaking the bad girl mold, she played Jo Longhurst, a second year student nurse. Her character was known for her compassion, kind nature, advocacy for patients, and challenging authority when it was questionable. Production for the show began in February of 1975 and episodes started to air in September of that same year. Cole’s run on the show lasted three years.

In 1976, Cole joined the cast of the costume drama, Poldark, for its second season. Reverting back to her bad girl mold, Cole played the salacious and lecherous, Rowella Chynoweth, who engages in an affair with her brother-in-law (played by Christopher Biggins). Poldark was immensely popular and garnered much attention for its romantic, and at times racy, plot lines.

Other credits include the Children's Film Foundation movie Paganini Strikes Again (1973), a 1982 episode of Tales of the Unexpected ("The Skeleton Key"), and the 1984 TV film of Camille, starring Greta Scacchi and Colin Firth. She featured as 'Robot 35' in the CBBC comedy Galloping Galaxies!.

She has a number of theatrical credits as well as pantomime and voice-over work. Cole has appeared on radio in BBC Radio 2 broadcasts of British panto, including the 26 December 1979 broadcast of Puss in Boots as "Princess Rosepetal",[2], as "Jill" in the 25 December 1981 broadcast of Mother Goose,[3] and as "Alice" in the 27 December 1982 broadcast of Dick Whittington.[4]

In 2002 Cole developed Centrestage, a children's acting drama school.

After qualifying in 1998 as a fitness instructor, she worked in the 2000s on various projects, including the 2005 ITV series Fat Families as fitness advisor to one of the title families. In 2006, she was seen on the soap opera Emmerdale.

In August 2010 Cole co-starred in an Edinburgh Fringe show entitled "Willy Wonka Revisited: The Veruca Salt Sessions", where she plays a semi-fictional version of herself discussing Veruca, life, and obsessive fans with her unseen therapist, while her co-star plays an Australian fan describing his obsession with Veruca to his unseen therapist.

Cole currently works as a psychotherapist.[5]

Cole loves being asked about her two children. "Whenever Holly (her daughter) said or did anything brattish, I'd just go, 'Is there a problem, Veruca? Can I help you?' That always snapped her out of it. But I didn't call Barnaby (her son) anything because there was no need; he never gave me any such trouble."[1]

Personal life

Cole met actor Nick Wilton in 1988, at the revival of the Whitehall farce "Dry Rot". They married in 1991 and have two children together, they divorced in 2002 after eleven years of marriage.[6]

Acting roles


  1. Julie Dawn Cole. IMDb
  2. Guide, British Comedy. "Puss-In-Boots - Radio 2 Comedy - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide.
  3. Emmett, Chris (3 November 2011). Mother Goose. BBC Physical Audio. ASIN 1408469618.
  4. "Dick Whittington" via Amazon.
  5. On The Cover: Julie Dawn Cole of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. celebrityparentsmag.com. 7 June 2011
  6. https://www.smoothradio.com/features/willy-wonka-cast-where-are-they-now/
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