Mark Lester (born Mark Letzer, 11.7.1958)
Mark Lester is English and is a former child actor, known for his roles in the 1960s and 1970s.
Mark Lester: Childhood
Mark Lester was born in Oxford, England, to Rita Keene Lester and Michael Boris Lezter (later Lester). His mother was an actress and his father was both an actor and a producer.
Lester studied at the Halliford School in Shepperton, an independent school. He then went on to attend the Corona Academy stage school in Hammersmith, in London. As a result of his training, he landed a number of supporting roles in UK TV series such as The Human Jungle (one particular episode featured Joan Collins as a guest star) and Danger Man (starring Patrick McGoohan).
Mark Lester: Acting career
When Mark Lester was six years old, he appeared in the Diana Dors film, Allez France! He then landed a small role in Farenheit 451, playing the second schoolboy.
Four years later, Mark Lester was chosen to appear in the film version of Oliver! The production was a movie adaptation of Lionel Bart's musical, based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. The film was hugely successful and won six Academy Awards. Also starring in the film were Oliver Reed (as Bill Sikes) Ron Moody (as Fagin) and Jack Wild (as Dodger).
Jack Wild and Mark Lester worked together again on Melody in 1971. The film starred Tracy Hyde as the title character and featured the music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Bee Gees on the soundtrack.
In 1969, Mark Lester starred opposite Sir John Mills (father of Hayley Mills) in Run Wild, Run Free and received a great deal of praise for his performance as a dysfunctional child. He also played a disturbed child in the first episode of Then Came Bronson.
The first few years of the 1970s were hugely popular for Mark Lester. At the star of the decade. He starred in Eyewitness, along with Susan George and Night Hair Child with Britt Ekland. He was also cast in Whoever Slew Auntie Boo? with Shelley Winters.
Lester then struggled to find decent film roles and made a series of films in Italy, including Redneck, with Telly Savalas and Scalawag with Kirk Douglas. The last in this series of Italian films was La Prima volta sull'erba. The title translates as Love Under The Elms and the film was nominated for Best Film at the 1974 Berlin Film Festival.
The final film that Lester made in Britain was Crossed Swords (or, The Prince and the Pauper. The film starred Charlton Heston, George C. Scott, Rex Harrison and Raquel Welch. It also saw Lester working once more with Oliver Reed.
Mark Lester: Life after Acting
Mark Lester stopped his acting career at the age of 19. Aged 28, Lester took his A-Levels and studied to become an osteopathic physician at the British School of Osteopathy. He went on to open an acupuncture clinic (the Carlton Clinic in Cheltenham) in 1993.
Mark Lester: Personal Life
Mark Lester married a psychiatric nurse named Lisa in 1993. They had four children together but divorced in 2005.
From 1982, Mark Lester became a good friend of the late pop singer Michael Jackson. Mark Lester was chosen to be a godfather to Jackson's children. In 2009, however, shortly after Michael Jackson's death, Mark Lester took part in an interview with the British tabloid paper, News of the World, in which he stated that he was potentially the father of Paris Katherine Jackson, Michael's daughter. He claimed that he had donated sperm for Michael in 1996. He also stated that he was willing to take a paternity test. The press made much of the physical similarities between Paris and Mark's own daughter.