He was born in Royton, Oldham but moved to London in 1960. His younger brother was the actor Jack Wild. Both boys took the profession to supplement the salaries of their impoverished parents and Arthur's greatest success was in the title role in part of the original West End run of Oliver! in which Jack appeared as one of Fagin's boys and later earned an Oscar nomination for the part of the Artful Dodger in the 1968 cinema version.
Arthur also appeared in The Wednesday Play, City '68, Z Cars, Scene, The Doctors and Dixon of Dock Green.