Roald Dahl's widow reveals Charlie of Chocolate Factory fame was black

Adjust Comment Print

Launching on Wednesday 13th September as part of the global celebration of Roald Dahl Day, a series of eight books specially developed for the promotion will be available, each focusing on a number of Roald Dahl's characters, including Matilda, the BFG and Willy Wonka.

According to The Guardian, Dahl's character Charlie from the famous "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was originally going to be black, but Dahl was persuaded to make him white.

It's apparently Roald Dahl Day over in the United Kingdom and BBC Radio 4's Today had the author's widow, Liccy Dahl, and his biographer, Donald Sturrock, on for a talk.

The author's biographer Donald Sturrock, who was also being interviewed, said the change was decided upon by Dahl's agent who thought a poor white boy would appeal more to the audience. "She said people would ask: 'Why?'"

Lucy said she wasn't sure why Dahl changed the character, but that "it's a great pity".

Watch the entire interview with Dahl and Sturrock below. "She said people would ask: 'Why?'"

Frank Vincent, Mob Boss Phil Leotardo on 'The Sopranos,' Dies at 78
According to Variety , his Sopranos co-star, Vincent Pastore , took to Facebook to announce the news. His most recent role was as a bishop on "Law & Order: SVU" previous year .


The revelation regarding Dahl's original wish for Charlie may surprise those who accused the author of racism in relation to the book. Initially, the Oompa-Loompas were depicted as black pygmies.

As with many of his books, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" made it to the silver screen in 1971.

In the 1971 film, the Oompa Loompas were depicted with orange skin to avoid the issue of race, and the following year Dahl reworked the characters in another US edition of his book so that they were depicted with "rosy-white skin".

Dahl revealed that her husband wasn't fond of that movie.

Getty Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and Peter Ostrum as Charlie Bucket in the 1971 film 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.

Comments