Mel Stuart Has Died

Willy Wonka director was 83

Mel Stuart, the director of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, has died.

News of the 83 year-old Stuart's losing his fight with cancer at his Beverly Hills home late on Thursday night was announced by his daughter, Madeline, earlier today.

Though a very successful and much-respected TV producer for the majority of his career, he is perhaps best remembered for adaptating Roald Dahl's children's book into Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory in 1971 - a movie that only came about after an 11 year-old Madeline asked her dad to turn his favourite book into a film.

The wonderfully-titled If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium is another gem from early in his career, starring Ian McShane as an English tour guide and Suzanne Pleshette as one of a group of Americans he's taking around Europe.

The prolific TV movie director won an Academy Award nomination (for his documentary, Four Days in November, about the assassination of John F. Kennedy), a Peabody and four Emmy awards throughout his career.

He is survived by his wife Roberta and three children.