Julie Dawn Cole: Gene Wilder was such a lovely man

Gene Wilder has been described as a "kind, patient and a lovely man" by the actress who played his obnoxious co-star in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Julie Dawn Cole, who played troublesome child Veruca Salt in the 1971 hit film, first met Wilder on the set in Munich before filming was about to start.

Speaking to ITV News, she said: "Gene was such a lovely man. He was kind, he was patient, he was a delight. It's hugely sad news.

"He probably was not quite as crazy as you'd imagine. He was an ordinary, kind of quiet, kind man. Always entertaining, always with a smile, never being grand - there was no big ego.

Recalling her time on set, Cole said her abiding memory was of Wilder's storytelling.

"He was so patient with us kids! I was out on the movie for three months, and I didn't have any family with me.

"He used to sit and tell me stories, and just a very very kind person. Always generous. Always helping you to get your moment.

"He was never greedy", she added.