Mel Stuart

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Mel Stuart
Mel Stuart, with the Oompa Loompa actors, in 1970
Stuart Solomon[1]

(1928-09-02)September 2, 1928
New York City, U.S.
DiedAugust 9, 2012(2012-08-09) (aged 83)
Occupation(s)Film director, producer
Years active1963–2000
Harriet Rosalind
(m. 1956; div. 1979)
Roberta Silberman
(m. 1985; died 2011)

Mel Stuart (born Stuart Solomon; September 2, 1928 – August 9, 2012) was an American film director and producer who often worked with producer David L. Wolper, at whose production firm he worked for 17 years, before going freelance.

Early life[edit]

Stuart was born Stuart Solomon.[1] He was of Jewish background.[2]


Stuart directed the fantasy-musical Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). He directed other features, including If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), One Is a Lonely Number (1972) and Running on the Sun: The Badwater 135 (2000).

Stuart also directed feature documentaries including the 1964 Oscar-nominated JFK documentary Four Days in November and the 1973 concert film Wattstax.

In addition he directed or produced over 180 films including movies of the week The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal, Bill, The Chisholms, and Ruby and Oswald, the television series Ripley's Believe It or Not, and the documentaries The Making of the President 1960, 1964, and 1968, The Hobart Shakespeareans, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Man Ray — The Prophet of the Avant-Garde, George Plimpton and the Philharmonic, and The Poet's View. He was also nominated for the made-for-TV production Bill, starring Mickey Rooney.[3]


He was awarded an Emmy award, an Academy Award nomination,[4][5][6] a Peabody, and numerous other awards. Stuart also served as president of the International Documentary Association for two years.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Stuart was born to Edgar and Cecille Solomon, graduated from New York University in 1949, and worked for an advertising company. Stuart married his first wife Harriet Rosalind Dolin on August 12, 1956. They had three children: Madeline, Peter, and Andrew. Madeline and Peter made appearances in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory though only Peter was credited. Stuart and Dolin divorced in 1979. He married his second wife Roberta Silberman in 1985, and they stayed together until her death in 2011.[1]


On August 9, 2012, Stuart died at the age of 83 after suffering melanoma cancer at his home in Los Angeles, California. In addition to his three children from his first marriage, Andrew, Madeleine, and Peter, Stuart was also survived by two grandchildren, Maximilian Stuart and Eleanor Stuart.[1]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Hevesi, Dennis (August 10, 2012). "Mel Stuart, 'Willy Wonka' Director, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  2. ^ "The Candy Man – July 16, 2021 | Jewish Federation of Greater Portland".
  3. ^ Bill – Awards – IMDb
  4. ^ "The 37th Academy Awards (1965) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  5. ^ "NY Times: Four Days in November". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2011. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2008.
  6. ^ Documentary Winners: 1965 Oscars
  7. ^ Mel Stuart obituary|Film|The Guardian
  8. ^ Canby, Vincent (February 16, 1973). "Wattstax (1972) Film: 'Wattstax,' Record of Watts Festival Concert". The New York Times.

External links[edit]