I was very sorry to hear that Jack Wild passed away. He was the young actor fondly remembered for his portrayal of The Artful Dodger in the film version of Oliver!
I grew up with that movie. Although it came out a year after I was born, it was as though it had been made for my childhood. I sang the songs, watched his mischievous antics and got a real thrill from seeing his warm partnership with the young Mark Lester develop through the course of the picture.
To me, Jack Wild was always that boisterous teenager, with the Cockney twinkle in his eyes. How could he dare grow up, make a mess of his life and die so young (he was only 52) from a horrible disease (cancer) that firstly claimed his voicebox and then the rest of his body?
I guess we’re all taken in by movies and we try to forget that the images on screen are just that – images. Jack Wild could never stay the same age in the same way that I too am no longer that 15 year old kid, trying to figure out what it is I am going to do “when I grow up”.
I’m sad because I feel as though Jack Wild’s death has robbed me of something of my childhood. I know this is ridiculous, because he can’t be held responsible for growing up, just like everyone else. It’s not his fault for being human.
Tragically, for all of us, watching Oliver! will never be the same again. Every time I see The Artful Dodger chewing up the scenery, it will be hard not to mourn the fact that the little boy I’m watching prancing around the screen is no longer alive. Jack Wild’s death has left a void in my life and yet another reminder that sometimes, even the movies can’t hide the fact that at times, life is so very cruel.