Just a few weeks ago I mentioned my love for Jack Wild. I spoke of his mop top hair and his round pie face and how he resembled the other muppet like characters on H.R.PUFnSTUF. Sadly he has not dodged the grim reaper. The following is his little legacy:
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 Jack getting an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. Fresh from this success, Jack was offered the lead role in an American television series called "H.R. Pufnstuf" (1969). This Sid and Marty Krofft production featured Wild with puppets and actors in elaborate costumes as a marooned boy in an enchanted land. Other characters included Mayor Pufnstuf, a friendly dragon, and the evil Witchipoo (more than a nod to the Wicked Witches from The Wizard of Oz), who schemes to steal his magic talking flute for herself. The success of this programme led to Wild reprising the role for the film version, Pufnstuf (1970). Other roles followed, including Melody (1971/I) and Flight of the Doves (1971). Around the same time, Jack 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, he was already being demoted to the role of supporting actor for The Pied Piper (1972). He also appeared in "Our Mutual Friend" (1976) (mini). More recently, he returned to films in two small roles: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and Basil (1998).