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Jack Wild Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (24) | Personal Quotes (16) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Royton, near Oldham, Lancashire, England, UK
Died in Tebworth, Bedfordshire, England, UK  (tongue and throat cancer)
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born September 30, 1952, in Royton, near Oldham, England, Jack Wild was discovered by talent agent June Collins, mother of rock star Phil Collins. His breakthrough came when he landed the role of Oliver in the London stage production of "Oliver!" When it came to casting the film, the role of the Artful Dodger went to Jack, a role that resulted in his getting an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Fresh from this success, Jack was offered the lead role in the American television series H.R. Pufnstuf (1969). This Sid Krofft and Marty Krofft production featured Wild as a boy marooned in an enchanted land with puppets and actors in elaborate costumes. The success of this program led to Wild reprising the role for the film version, Pufnstuf (1970). Other roles followed, including Melody (1971) and Flight of the Doves (1971). Around the same time, Wild released three albums ("The Jack Wild Album"; "Everything's Coming up Roses", featuring along with cover numbers a couple of new songs written by up-and-coming songwriter Lynsey de Paul; and "Beautiful World"). By 1972, however, he was already being demoted to the role of supporting actor for The Pied Piper (1972). He also appeared in Our Mutual Friend (1976). He returned to films in two small roles: the miller's son in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and a peddler in Basil (1998). Wild underwent surgery for oral cancer in July 2004, and had some vocal cords and part of his tongue removed. Unfortunately, the cancer proved untreatable and he died on 1 March 2006.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Claire Harding (September 2005 - 1 March 2006) (his death)
Gaynor Jones (February 1976 - 1985) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Impish grin, snub nose, boundless energy and husky voice
At the height of his career he often played younger than he was
Cockney Accent

Trivia (24)

The Morrissey song, "Little Man, What Now," which describes a child star long faded from the spotlight, is widely believed to be about Jack Wild, although some sources claim that it is Malcolm McFee who is referred to in the song.
Toured the United Kingdom as "Bob Cratchit" in "A Christmas Carol" and also appeared in pantomime.
Ex-wife Gay was a backup singer for various artists, including David Essex.
Jack's minor role in his last film Moussaka & Chips (2005) reunited him with his Oliver! (1968) co-star Ron Moody.
Was working on his autobiography at the time of his death of mouth cancer, which was prompted by years of heavy smoking and excessive drinking.
Came from a working-class family. His father worked in a tire factory and moved Jack and older brother Arthur from Manchester to London while Jack was still young.
Knew singer Phil Collins when they were youngsters, and played football with him. Collins's mother, a theatrical agent, entered both Jack and his brother Arthur Wild into the Barbara Speake Stage School, a training facility for kid professionals.
Brother Arthur Wild played the title role in the West End production of "Oliver!" and Jack played one of "the boys." Auditioning for the role of the Artful Dodger several times, he was always turned down for being too short. It was only after he played the character in the celebrated screen version that he was offered the role on stage.
Nominated for an Oscar in 1968 for his Oliver! (1968) role, he attended the Academy Awards ceremony on April 14, 1969, and had been assured he was a front- runner in the Supporting Actor category. He initially stood up when the category was announced and he heard the name "Jack." He sat down just as quickly when the full name of the winner was announced--Jack Albertson.
Won the "8th Annual Gold Star Award" from "16" magazine as the "Best Movie Actor" and "Most Promising TV Star" of 1969.
Received a special tribute as part of the Annual Memorial tribute at The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007).
Was an alcoholic from the late 1970s until he sobered up in 1989.
Was always careful never to be seen smoking or drinking in public because he didn't want to encourage young people to copy him.
Contrary to some reports, in real life he was not a close friend of Mark Lester.
At 15, Wild was six years older than his Oliver! (1968) co-star Mark Lester, but he was so short and appeared so youthful that the movie's producers had him wear lifts to make him look more mature.
At the time of his death he was due to appear in Cinderella at the Swan Theatre in Worcester and had the part of Baron Hardup rewritten to exploit his abilities at mime.
By the age of 21 he was a registered alcoholic and had been diagnosed with diabetes.
Admitted his heavy drinking contributed to the breakdown of his marriage to his Welsh wife Gaynor Jones.
In the UK he was a popular draw in provincial pantomime. He played Buttons in "Cinderella" several times until age prompted a switch to an Ugly Sister. He particularly regretted that, having played a famous fictional cockney, he had never appeared in EastEnders (1985).
He was given a million-dollar contract with Capitol Records, for whom he made three albums, "The Jack Wild Album", "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Beautiful World".
Joined Alcoholics Victorious in 1988 and later became a born again Christian.
His drinking and heavy smoking caused three near-fatal cardiac arrests and led to several spells in hospital during the 1980s.
After blowing his fortune, Wild was forced to live with his retired father for several years.
Sectioned under the Mental Health Act in December 1985.

Personal Quotes (16)

Until I was diagnosed with mouth cancer, I'd never heard of it. What I learned very quickly was that my lifestyle had made me a walking time bomb. I was a heavy smoker and an even heavier drinker and apparently together they are a deadly mixture.
I'm thought of as a celebrity. Everything I've ever done . . . has been for children. As long as I was working constantly, that was fine, because, although I don't have any children, I do relate better to them than adults.
I spent the seventies and eighties in a drunken haze.
I wasn't being offered as many films or TV work or theatre work and so my automatic answer to that was to have a drink that would send me to sleep. From the late seventies onwards, I really wasn't in a fit state to do any work of any kind. But, thankfully, I actually became sober on March 6, 1989, and thank God I've been sober since. It is now no problem for me and I'm thankful for that journey because I have learnt one hell of a lot. At the height of my drinking, which I would say was the mid to late eighties - and by then I'd had a serious drinking career for a good ten years - I wouldn't drink immediately on getting up in the morning, but come midday my brain would tell me that I wanted a drink. Then, if I was at home, I would constantly have in the fridge a big bottle of dry white wine, which I would drink a lot of. The only reason I drank that was because I thought that you can't smell wine on your breath. So if I was driving my car and got stopped they wouldn't know that I'd been drinking. Then come the evening I might have had a few beers and white wine and maybe some spirits as well. I went in a drying out clinic thanks to Pete Townsend, who ran a charity for drug addicts and alcoholics. Within six hours of getting out - and I'd been dry for six weeks - I drove to the off- licence to buy a bottle of champagne to celebrate the fact that I had stopped drinking. Now that is a typical alcoholic's behaviour. Within a month, I was back to square one again. I was willing to try anything to stop killing myself and this friend said come to this meeting, Alcoholics Victorious. We use the Bible to get references for everyday living. That night I went home and I can honestly say I prayed to the God of my understanding. I got up the next day and it got to about six in the afternoon before I realised how many places I'd passed where I could have had a drink and didn't even think about it. I have never wanted to have a drink since.
At an age when most youngsters are preparing for their GCSEs, I was suddenly a jet-setter, briefly the toast of Hollywood and London's West End. My immature wishes and naive opinions were treated with respect. It was all so flattering and seductive that if you were not careful, you came to believe that you really deserved instant superstar treatment. That was part of my problem. That, and an addictive craving for booze, which was to do me and my family so much harm ... I can remember going to parties where the 'nibbles' were great bowls of LSD, marijuana, cocaine, uppers and downers. I remember my jaw dropping when I saw for the first time the stunningly sexy young ladies who were hanging on my every word. As an inexperienced teenager from Hounslow, West London, it took me some time to realise that these charming creatures were professional hookers, there only to flatter and to do anything I wanted. In fact, I was a traditional working-class lad and I stuck to the booze. But down the years I paid a heavy price.
I guess I'll go to my grave as the Dodger, but at least I've made my mark on show-business history. (1996)
You have to reach your own personal bottom line, and the time wasn't right for me at clinics. I joined Alcoholics Anonymous, and don't consider I have a drink problem any more. I might have a low-alcohol lager but that's all.
I'd definitely be up for EastEnders. Just the same as I would if Coronation Street was offered. Either way, it would be like going back to my roots.
There is no buzz like performing for a live audience.
I was never really sober. I just topped myself up every day.
I was smoking since I was twelve. The people around me - the agents, personal and business managers - could hardly say, "You can't have a drink." I was employing them, after all. By the time I was nineteen I thought I was God.
I was the leader of the gang and we got up to a lot of escapades for the whole year we were making it. But Carol Reed was an excellent director and he knew how to deal with us.
My parents were working-class and couldn't afford them. At 12, I was treated as an adult at "work" and it was difficult for me to switch from that role at home. I grew up too quickly.
A lot of people try to blame the fact that I was successful at a young age. I don't agree with them. I firmly believe that it wouldn't have mattered what career I'd have chosen, I'd have ended up with a drinking problem. I think it was just in my genes.
It's very hard not to let fame affect you because you are continually being told how good you are. After a while you begin to think there must be some truth in it because all those people can't be wrong.
I was taken to hospital and sectioned under the Mental Health Act. But when I came out of hospital, I began drinking again. On a typical day I'd consume half a bottle of vodka and a couple of bottles of wine. Despite all this, I honestly believed I was in control. I'd sign on for Unemployment Benefit and use that for drink. I would constantly have a drink within three feet of me so I could be unaware of what was going on around me. At the same time I was expecting a phone call from Spielberg saying, 'I want you to be in my next movie!' It was insane.

Salary (1)

H.R. Pufnstuf (1969) $1,000,000

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