Friday, 5 March 2010

2 Fallen Stars...

Simon Dee Interviews Jack Wild very very rare

Although their paths later down the line differed immeasurably, it remained as a sad demise for both, to different extents. Simon Dee was sacked from his chat show seen in the clip, "Dee Time", in 1970, and by 1974, was signing on the dole with some embarrassment due to media coverage, and became a bus driver with little other prospects back in the world of showbiz. He also ended up in prison for a month after failing to pay his house bills. For Jack Wild, it was a more tragic spiral from the bright lights of fame and even, Hollywood. After his much cherished and fondly remembered role as a child actor in the 1968 film adaptation of Charles Dicken's novel "Oliver!", the promising boy actor took on the role as the charming pickpocket "The Artful Dodger". Wild reached a career-high of being Oscar-nominated for the role, for Best Supporting Actor. However, like too many child actors, the transition of child to adult became a "crash and burn" scenario. Wild did well in the short-term after "Oliver", achieving more fame in the US as the shipwrecked boy Jimmy in children's US TV series "H.R. Pufnstuf". He played the same role in the film version that followed. Despite launching pop career, successfully evolving him into a teen pin-up in the 1970's, Wild had been drinking and taking drugs since the age of 12 on a regular basis. This drove his career downwards and it brough his on-screen career to an end. The 1980s was the lowlight of his life, with his marriage to childhood sweetheart Gaynor Jones finished due to his alcoholism. He suffered multiple cardiac arrests before giving up on the drink. Although successfully beating the drink and drugs after rehab, his looks were wasted, but he began acting againin the early 90s with limited success, taking a bit-part in 1991's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" starring Kevin Costner. Wild suffered from oral cancer in his later life, and agreed his heavy smoking and drinking in the past were much to blame. He died on 1st March 2006 at a young age of 53.

Dee talks about, rather ironically and at the same time prophetic-like now, about Wild's career possibly flailing after he leaves childhood. This is repeated again later. Other discussions like who Jack Wild idolises and who his favourite football player is. Riveting!

"Dee Time" was a twice weekly show from 1967-1970 on BBC1. Simon Dee was plucked from Radio Luxembourg and other radion work on "BBC Light Programme" to host this prime-time show. Dee became very popular with great TV ratings and lapped over into presenting such prestigious shows like "Top of the Pops". This interview with Jack Wild is one of the few surviving clips from the show. Some live shows were just never recorded, as it was felt to hold no real value in the future. Dee though, interviewed a great wealth of stars from Hollywood and the UK.

"Dee Time" was stopped on its tracks, as Dee became too big for his boots, asking for higher wage rises and was kicked out of the BBC. He moved the show to ITV for one series in 1970, however more arguments between Dee and LWT (London Weekend Television) management and tension between Frost's chat show and his. So he was kicked out once again. He did have one final flourish, as people started remembering what good he brought to TV, and was awarded with a one-off new live episode of "Dee-Time" in 2003 on BBC Four. Dee died of bone cancer in August 2009 at the age of 74.

1 comment:

  1. such sad, sad stories about simon dee & jack wild. i really liked jack wild and thought he had great talent. it's esp sad that his wonderful voice was lost due to his illness.

    but i don't think jack was hooked on drugs... he wrote somewhere that as a working class boy from london, he stuck to the booze and cigarettes... hence, "Wild had been drinking and taking drugs since the age of 12 on a regular basis" should be just drinking & smoking since the very young age of 12~