Charlie, of the Famous “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Was Originally a ‘Little Black Boy’, Roald Dahl’s Widow Says

British writer Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990), in December 1971. (Ronald Dumont/Getty Images)
British writer Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990), in December 1971. (Ronald Dumont/Getty Images)

Charlie Bucket, the hero of Roald Dahl’s famous children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which also inspired two films and a British confectionery company, was originally written to be a “little black boy,” according to an interview with Felicity Dahl, the author’s widow.

She spoke earlier this week on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, alongside Roald Dahl biographer Donald Sturrock, who said it was the writer’s agent “who thought it was a bad idea” and had the author turn the protagonist white.

“People would ask why (Charlie was black),” Sturrock quoted the agent as saying.

The BBC interviewer followed up by suggesting a new rewrite of the book that would recast Charlie as a black child, to which Felicity Dahl responded, “it would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which a boy from an impoverished family in Britain finds the fifth and final ticket to win a tour of the factory run by eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka, was just one of many wildly successful children’s classics written by Dahl that also inspired major motion pictures.

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SOURCE: CHRIS BENDEREV 
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