mel stuart zap2it 'Willy Wonka' director Mel Stuart dies at age 83Director Mel Stuart‘s family tells the AP that Stuart has died of cancer in his Los Angeles home at the age of 83. Stuart was an award-winning documentary filmmaker, including films “The Making of the President,” an “American Masters” piece on director Billy Wilder and groundbreaking film “Wattstax,” which focused on the Los Angeles community of Watts in the wake of the 1965 riots and 1972 music festival.

Stuart did not film many feature films, but two of his are quite famous. His 1969 Golde Globe-nominated romantic comedy “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” stars Ian McShane (“Deadwood”) as a British tour guide who takes a group of Americans on an 18-day tour of Europe and along the way has an affair with one of his clients, played by Suzanne Pleshette.

And of course, no one can forget the 1971 adaptation of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” starring Gene Wilder. We like to imagine Stuart floating down the chocolate river to a rousing rendition of “Pure Imagination.”

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."