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The first child star - Michael Arditti

Features | By Michael Arditti

Betty in Douglas, 1804

As a boy, William Betty was the greatest actor of the age. When he was 15, though, his novelty value began to wear off. By Michael Arditti

When Daniel Radcliffe was cast as Harry Potter, Jack Wild, who had known similar instant, international celebrity as the Artful Dodger in Carol Reed’s film of Oliver! (1968), wrote him a heartfelt letter: ‘Steer clear of temptations. Keep your feet on the ground. Don’t believe the hype. And, above all, enjoy fame and fortune while they last, for they can be fickle. I know; I learned the hard way.’...

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