JACK WILD Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Jack Wild                                                                     
Born. 30 September 1952 Royton, Lancashire, England                                 
Died: 2 March 2006 Tebworth, Bedfordshire, England                                 
Jack Wild (30 September 1952 – 2 March 2006) was an English actor who achieved   
fame for his roles in both stage and screen productions of the Lionel Bart         
musical Oliver!. For the latter performance (playing the Artful Dodger), he         
received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 16,   
but the Oscar went to Jack Albertson for his performance in The Subject Was         
Roses. Jack Wild appeared with actor Mark Lester in two films: Oliver! (1968)       
and Melody (1971).                                                                 
Wild was born into a working-class family in Rossendale, Lancashire, and moved     
south with his parents when he was still an infant. He was educated at the         
independent Barbara Speake Stage School in Acton, London, and had to supplement     
his parents' modest incomes by working, in order to pay his school fees.           
It was at the premiere of the 1968 film version of Oliver! that he met brothers     
Sid and Marty Krofft, who thought Wild would make a good lead for a show they       
were developing called H.R. Pufnstuf. Wild starred in this American family TV       
series that launched in 1969, and also in the movie Pufnstuf. He also embarked     
on a recording career, cutting one album for Capitol Records and two for Buddah     
Records in the early 1970s.                                                         
Excessive drinking at an early age derailed Wild's career. Sobering up in 1988,     
he returned to the big screen in a few minor roles, such as in the 1991 Kevin       
Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He was also reported to be             
developing a TV situation comedy with Suzi Quatro around the same time, but         
those plans never materialised in an actual series. For the most part, though,     
Wild spent the remainder of his career working in theatre.                         
Wild died on 2 March 2006, aged 53, after a long battle with oral cancer, which     
he claims was caused by his alcoholism and smoking. Diagnosed with the disease     
in 2000, he underwent surgery in July 2004 and had part of his tongue and both     
vocal cords removed. Because of this surgery, he had lost his speech and had to     
communicate through his wife, Clare Harding, whom he had met in a stage             
production of Cinderella; Jack played one of the ugly stepsisters.