Jack Wild (born in Royton, Lancashire, England, 30th September 1952 - 1st March 2006) was an English performer who was best known for playing the Artful Dodger in the film adaptation of Oliver! and for playing Jimmy in the trippy children's series H.R. Pufnstuf.Coming from a very modest background in west London, he was discovered while playing football. The lady who discovered him was the theatrical agent June Collins, mother of one Phil Collins (who played on the same team as Wild). She then enrolled him in the Barbara Speak Stage School in Acton, where during his studies he landed bit parts in various television series including Out of the Unknown and Z Cars.Not long after his enrollment, Wild and his older brother Arthur were cast in the West End production of Oliver — Arthur in the title role and Jack as one of Fagin's men. Jack sought to be cast as the Artful Dodger but was turned down because he was too short. However, he was cast in that very role in 1967 during pre-production of the film adaptation.When the film was completed and screened for the awards season, Wild was nominated for:
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Winner: Jack Albertson, The Subject Was Roses [1968 film])
- Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor (Winner: Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate)
- BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Winner: Ian Holm, The Bofors Gun)
- Cover Version: A good half of his debut record alone boasts renditions of songs from the likes of The Beatles and The Archies. He also dabbled in old British music hall tunes for his later records, as well as more contemporary songs.
- Development Hell: At the time of his death, he was writing an autobiography. His wife, Claire Harding, was going to finish it with a publishing date of September 2012, but that never eventuated.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: His speech pattern — this coupled with his Cockney accent reportedly made it difficult for American audiences to understand him, so on H.R. Pufnstuf the Kroffts told him to mediate his accent with American pronunciation.
- Older Than They Look: A very odd case in that he started out this way (as a teen he could pass as a preteen and his voice didn't change until around 19). Ironically; His alcoholism and heavy smoking would end up making him Younger Than They Look.
- Rags to Riches: His early career was defined by this trope.