Little is known about Bill Sikes' early life. He was probably born and raised in the slums of London
, if not in a workhouse. At some point he began working as a career criminal, at which he excelled. He gained notoriety in London's East End for his brutality. He and Fagin
became acquainted at some point, probably when Fagin took Bill in to act as a thief for him, and Bill became involved in Fagin's use of young boys as pickpockets. He lived in Bethnal Green, and later on Jacob's Island, with his lover, Nancy.
Bill was created by Charles Dickens
Major Story Arcs
Sikes is enlisted by Fagin to kidnap Oliver Twist
before the boy can reveal anything about Fagin's criminal enterprises. Having returned the boy to Fagin's care, Sikes and Fagin force him to participate in a robbery. The burglary is botched, and Oliver is wounded. Sikes initially attempts to flee with the boy, but abandons him when he becomes a burden. Later, when Nancy attempts to save Oliver from Fagin and another man who seek to destroy the boy's reputation, Fagin informs Sikes of her actions, twisting the story just enough to make Sikes believe Nancy has betrayed him. In a rage, he beats her to death. He then flees to the countryside, where he finds himself haunted by Nancy's ghost. He returns to London to seek a place to hide. There, he is pursued by an angry mob, which chases him up onto a rooftop. He accidentally hangs himself while attempting to flee the mob.
Sikes has appeared in most adaptations of the Oliver Twist
story. Notable among these is the musical Oliver!
, originally released in 1960 and adapted as a movie in 1968. The role of Sikes was originated on the stage by Danny Sewell, and he was portrayed in the film by Oliver Reed. A character based on him, called Sykes, appears in Disney's
loosely adapted Oliver & Company
, where he is a loan shark. He is voiced by Robert Loggia. He has been portrayed by such actors as Tim Curry, Andy Serkis, and Tom Hardy.