The Artful Dodger was one of my favorite characters in the 1968 movie musical Oliver! Played by the young Jack Wild, the pickpocket in the battered top hat was much more fun to watch than the saccharine title character. Wild was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance, and although he didn't win, Oliver! did take home the award for Best Picture.

Wild later had the child lead in the TV series H.R. Pufnstuf, which I adored as a little girl and would probably not be able to stand now. He had a short career as a musician, and worked as an actor in supporting roles on and off through the decades. He had a small role in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which was apt for an actor whose best-known role was as a small thief.

Sadly, Wild was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000. He died on Wednesday. His last role was in the 2005 Irish film Moussaka & Chips, which starred Ron Moody, who played Fagin to Wild's Dodger on stage and screen.

categories Features, Cinematical