Jack Wild, the actor appeared who in the movie musical "Oliver!" as the irrepressible Artful Dodger, has died, his agent said Thursday. He was 53.
Wild died Wednesday after a battle with mouth cancer, agent Alex Jay said.
As a child actor, Wild appeared in a London stage production of "Oliver!", Lionel Bart's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist." He was cast in the film as cheeky pickpocket the Artful Dodger, earning an Academy Award nomination at the age of 16.
He was known to a generation of children as the hero of "HR Pufnstuf," a U.S. television series about a boy stranded on a fantastical island with a talking flute, a friendly dragon and eerie, chatty trees. A feature film, "Pufnstuf," appeared in 1970.
Wild's adult acting career was fitful and he struggled with alcoholism. He had a role as one of the Merry Men in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" in 1991.
Wild was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000, and surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy had left him unable to speak.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
JACK WILD DEAD AT 53
E-mails already out to MIT, Mayor Dan and Smitty. From the wires:
No, sir, you may not have any more.