Oliver Reed Poster

Trivia (99)

Shared the same dentist as horror star Christopher Lee

Needed 36 stitches to repair cuts on his face after a bar fight in 1963. The incident left him with a permanent scar, which he initially feared would put an end to his screen career.

He had two brothers. David Reed became his business manager and his half-brother Simon Reed became his press agent.

Nephew of the film director Sir Carol Reed, who directed him in his breakthrough role as the villainous Bill Sikes in Oliver! (1968).

Father of Mark Thurloe Reed (born January 21, 1961) with his first wife Kate Byrne and of Sarah Reed (born 1970) from his 12-year relationship to dancer Jacqueline Daryl.

He died of a heart attack in a bar after downing three bottles of Captain Morgan's Jamaica rum, eight bottles of German beer, numerous doubles of Famous Grouse whiskey and Hennessy cognac, and beating five much younger Royal Navy sailors at arm-wrestling. His bar bill for that final lunch time totaled 270 Maltese lira, almost £450, about $594.72.

He was severely injured and almost died during the filming of The Three Musketeers (1973) when he was stabbed in the throat during the windmill duel scene.

Grandson of actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who founded the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1904.

His first job (at the age of 17) was as a bouncer at a Soho nightclub.

Was dyslexic.

Cousin of actress Tracy Reed and of the actor David Tree.

He was related by marriage to fellow actor Edward Fox, who was once married to his cousin, Tracy Reed, daughter of director Sir Carol Reed.

Narrowly missed out on playing superspy James Bond because of his love of alcohol and fighting. A new biography of the star uncovered a letter from Bond mastermind Albert R. Broccoli outlining how close he came to replacing Sean Connery in the role. Broccoli wrote, "With Reed we would have had a far greater problem to destroy his image and re-mold him as James Bond. We just didn't have the time or money to do that." According to Cliff Goodwin, author of the book "Evil Spirits", "Oliver was probably within a sliver of being cast as Bond." He adds, "But by 1968 his affairs were public and he was already drinking and fighting - as far away from the refined Bond image as you could get.".

By the mid-1970s he was considered by many to be Britain's biggest movie star. He declined roles in The Sting (1973) and Jaws (1975) because he didn't want to relocate to Los Angeles. Both of these roles were taken by fellow British hellraiser Robert Shaw. However, a Hollywood executive claimed, "Reed didn't turn us down. We turned him down. We like our stars to have respect - Oliver Reed didn't respect anyone and he showed it."

The actor he admired most was Errol Flynn.

He was a close friend of The Who's drummer Keith Moon.

In 1973 Steve McQueen flew to England to meet Reed and discuss a possible film collaboration. "Reed showed me his country mansion and we got on well," recalled McQueen. "He then suggested he take me to his favorite London nightclub." The drinking, which started at Reed's home, Broome Hall, continued into the night until Reed could hardly stand. Suddenly, and with no apparent warning, he vomited over McQueen's shirt and trousers. "The staff rushed around and found me some new clothes, but they couldn't get me any shoes," said McQueen. "I had to spend the rest of the night smelling of Oliver Reed's sick."

Michael Winner and former snooker champion Alex Higgins, himself suffering from throat cancer, were the only celebrities to attend Reed's funeral in Ireland.

His wrestling scene with Alan Bates in Women in Love (1969) was the first time full frontal male nudity had featured in a mainstream movie.

Reed died during the filming of Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000), and it cost the company $3 million to recreate his face so he could "appear" in the scenes he still had left to shoot.

Agreed to appear in the small but vital role of casino boss Eddie Mars in The Big Sleep (1978) just because he admired the film's star Robert Mitchum so much.

Described his role as Father Grandier in Ken Russell's The Devils (1971) as the best performance he ever gave.

Befriended Charlton Heston while filming The Three Musketeers (1973).

He named his favorite American actors as Lee Marvin, Rock Hudson and Rod Steiger.

In 1968 he was signed to star as William the Conqueror in a British film about the Norman Conquest with Michael Winner directing, but the project fell through.

He never had any acting training or stage experience.

For a brief period in the late 1960s Reed was the highest paid actor in Europe, but by the early 1980s he was reduced to starring in dire European films.

In addition to acting, Reed released several singles in the popular music vein, though with limited success. These included "Wild One"/"Lonely for a Girl" (1961), "Sometimes"/"Ecstasy" (1962), "Baby It's Cold Outside" (duet with Joyce Blair) and "Wild Thing" (1992) (duet with snooker ace Alex Higgins). Oliver also later narrated a track called "Walpurgis Nacht" by heavy metal band Death SS.

During the Falklands War in 1982, the highly patriotic Reed covered his house in a huge Union Jack flag and decorated every room with military memorabilia.

According to director Ken Russell, the original script for Women in Love (1969) did not include the famous nude wrestling scene because he felt it wouldn't pass the censors and would be difficult to shoot. It wasn't until Reed talked him into it by literally throwing his weight around--he wrestled Russell in his kitchen, pinned him down, and wouldn't let him up unless he agreed to shoot it.

At age 22, Reed was paid £90 per week for his first starring role in The Curse of the Werewolf (1961). But the film would not be seen in Spain for many years. It was banned because it was thought the film portrayed Spain as a backward nation.

He never forgot his Hammer roots. After hitting the big time, he went back to pay homage to his horror beginnings to narrate the full Hammer retrospective, a reminder that his voice was the one quality the English critics admired about him.

Reed remains the only British film star who never had any stage work of any kind. A 1980s National Portrait Gallery show noted this, saying he was their only pure film actor.

He starred in the first film to say "fuck", I'll Never Forget What's'isname (1967). He also starred in the first British film to be rated X just for the violent content, Sitting Target (1972).

The public house in Malta in which he died, previously known as "The Pub", was renamed "Ollie's Last Pub" in his memory.

Some obituaries mentioned the similarity between Reed's death and Robert Newton's. Newton, who had played Bill Sykes in David Lean's non-musical version of Oliver Twist (1948), was a notoriously heavy drinker. He remained sober while filming Around the World in 80 Days (1956), which was supposed to be a big comeback for him as an actor. Toward the end of filming, however, he indulged in one final drinking marathon and died from a heart attack, aged only 50. Similarly, Reed remained sober while filming Gladiator (2000) - intended as a big comeback - but died from a heart attack after allowing himself one final binge.

Owned a villa in the south of France next door to Jack Hawkins' villa.

On location for The Hunting Party (1971), Reed bemoaned the necessity of faking an American accent and this, coupled with his love of Broome Hall and English pubs, was enough to cement his decision not to move to Hollywood.

Bought Broome Hall, a 63-bedroom Victorian mansion in Surrey, in 1970.

He was a fan of James Dean in East of Eden (1955) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

Lost weight to appear in Castaway (1986) on a diet of vodka.

Had a tattoo on his penis. According to Patrick Warburton, Reed showed him the tattoo the first day they worked together.

He was nearly killed in a friendly sword-fight with director Ken Russell. He described the incident in the December 1973 issue of Photoplay Film Monthly: "Ken Russell came down here last Sunday and we had a fight. I have two large, double-handed swords and he nearly killed me. He tore my shirt right down to here, and I was only fighting with a small sword, from The Three Musketeers (1973), and I said, "I'm going to kill you!" So, he said, "I'm going to kill you!!" All his viewfinders and his pince nez, and his silver hearts with "I am allergic to aspirin" on them, his Mickey Mouse shoes, his pontification about people's varicose veins, that was all blown to the wind. He left here at four. He said, "you didn't really mean that about killing me, did you?" But we were very serious at the time. But whatever it is that allows for that lunacy or sense of the ridiculous comes across in the work that we do. He's extraordinarily talented.".

Once reckoned that the strenuous filming of The Devils (1971) took four years off his natural life.

Had an intense dislike for Jack Nicholson, whom he called "a balding midget". (Reed claimed Nicholson was only 5'7" tall).

Infamously clashed with Shelley Winters on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Episode dated 6 July 1972 (1972). He got angry at her for constantly jokingly interrupting the stories he was trying to tell and, when Winters had to leave the show early, Reed told Johnny Carson that he thought that women belong in the kitchen. She returned and poured a cup of water over his head. He then claimed it was whiskey that she poured over him.

Said that when he made the infamous drunken appearance on the Michael Aspel chat show when he sang a raucous rendition of "Wild Thing", that the producers of that show had plied him with spirits in the green room prior to the interview so that he was already plastered when he came on stage.

In 1979 he published an autobiography, entitled "Reed All About Me". Asked to describe the book by an interviewer he replied, "It's a load of bollocks really.".

He once described his purpose in life as "shafting the girlies and downing the sherbie.".

Was heavily criticized in the late 1980s for appearing in exploitation films produced by the infamous impresario Harry Alan Towers, most of which were filmed in South Africa under the apartheid regime, and released straight to video in the US and UK.

In order to avoid charges of nepotism Reed deliberately avoided working for his uncle, director Sir Carol Reed, until he was already established as a star in British movies.

He stated in 1974 his favorite book was "The House on Pooh Corner" by A.A. Milne.

He enjoyed playing golf and (lawn) bowls.

He loved horses all his life and also enjoyed breeding and rearing them.

He suffered from acute tinnitus for many years.

He won army sprint races while serving his national service.

Buried in Bruhenny Cemetery in Buttevant, Cork (Ireland). His grave-site was picked so that it was in full view of his favorite pub "O'Briens".

His paternal great-grandfather, Julius Ewald Edward Beerbohm, was of German, Lithuanian, and Dutch ancestry.

He made seven films with Christopher Lee: The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), Wild for Kicks (1960), The Pirates of Blood River (1962), The Three Musketeers (1973), The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge (1974), The Return of the Musketeers (1989), and Treasure Island (1990).

He appeared in four Robert Louis Stevenson adaptations: The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype (1980), Black Arrow (1985) and Treasure Island (1990).

He appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: Oliver! (1968) and Gladiator (2000).

He played Yvonne Romain's son in The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) and her brother in The Brigand of Kandahar (1965).

He turned down the role of Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting (1973) but later played the role in The Sting II (1983).

He was arrested for walking in public without clothes while filming The Brood (1979) and for fighting in a bar just after filming had ended on Spasms (1983).

At his trial in 2014 Max Clifford claimed he had helped cover up Reed's liking for underage girls.

The January 16, 1974, edition of Variety, in the Film Production section, reports the movie The Captive began filming Sep. 13, 1973, producer/director Herb Freed, starring Reed, Fernando Rey, and Curd Jürgens. No evidence the movie was ever released.

He turned down the role of Attila Mellanchini in 1900 (1976) that went to Donald Sutherland.

Roger Moore offered him the role of Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976), but he turned the role down, because many years earlier Moore had made a critical remark concerning Reed's acting ability. John Huston got the role.

In October 1981, Reed was arrested in Vermont, where he was tried and acquitted of disturbing the peace while drunk. However, he pleaded no contest to two assault charges and was fined $1,200.

In December 1987, Reed, who was overweight and already suffered from gout, became seriously ill with kidney problems as a result of his alcoholism and had to abstain from drinking for over one year on the advice of his doctor.

He was going to play Captain Bligh in The Bounty (1984) when David Lean was going to direct.

Michael Winner wanted to cast him in the lead role in West 11 (1963), but the producer, Daniel M. Angel dismissed him as a b-actor. The role went to Alfred Lynch.

He was originally cast as Mordechai "Fingers" Adams in Cutthroat Island (1995), but was fired after getting in a bar fight and threatening to expose himself to Geena Davis. George Murcell eventually took his place.

He was originally cast as James Parker in Tarzan the Ape Man (1981), but was forced to withdraw, due to a strike by the Screen Actors Guild, of which he was a member. When the production resumed filming, Reed had moved on to star in Venom (1981) and his role was taken by Richard Harris.

Reed was held partly responsible for the demise of BBC1's Sin on Saturday (1982) after some typically forthright comments on the subject of lust, the sin featured on the first programme. The show had many other problems, and a fellow guest revealed that Reed recognised this when he arrived and virtually had to be dragged in front of the cameras. Near the end of his life, he was brought onto some TV shows specifically for his drinking; for example The Word (1990) put bottles of liquor in his dressing room so he could be secretly filmed getting drunk. He left the set of the Channel 4 television discussion programme After Dark after arriving drunk and attempting to kiss feminist writer Kate Millett, uttering the phrase, "Give us a kiss, big tits". However, Cliff Goodwin's biography of Reed, "Evil Spirits", offered the theory that Reed was not always as drunk on chat shows as he appeared to be, but rather was acting the part of an uncontrollably sodden former star to liven things up, at the producers' behests.

He was going to star in A Clockwork Orange (1971) with Ken Russell directing.

When the UK government raised taxes on personal income, Reed initially declined to join the exodus of major British film stars to Hollywood and other more tax-friendly locales. In the late 1970s Reed finally relocated to Guernsey as a tax exile. He had sold his large house, Broome Hall, between the villages of Coldharbour and Ockley some years earlier and initially lodged at the Duke of Normandie Hotel in Saint Peter Port.

In his final years, when he lived in Ireland, Reed was a regular in the one-roomed O'Brien's Bar in Churchtown, County Cork, close to the 13th-century cemetery in the heart of the village where he was laid to rest.

He was considered for the role of Oliver Mellows in Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981). The role went to Alan Bates, his co-star in Women in Love (1969). Both were based on novels by D.H. Lawrence.

He was due to star in My Uncle Silas (2001). Following his death, his role went to Albert Finney.

He was briefly sought to play Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights (1970).

During the filming of "The Three Musketeers," co-star Christopher Lee described Oliver Reed as "a menace" when armed with a sword.

Michael Winner said that Oliver Reed was a rather shy, withdrawn person when sober.

Was mocked by Richard Harris when the Irish actor sent Reed two crutches. On one crutch was written the name Ken Russell and the other on Michael Winner's name on it. Included was a note from Harris which read: "Careful Ollie old boy. Don't lose these crutches, otherwise you shall fall right on your a***.".

Was wary of co-star Klaus Kinski during the filming of "Venom," owing to the German actor's notorious temper.

From the late 1980s till his passing, Oliver Reed began to mellow and was able to put his wild lifestyle behind him.

As well as being good friends with actor Richard Harris since the late 1960s, he would go on to become distantly related to him by marriage via their connections with James and Edward Fox.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s he was often seen in the Dog & Fox Hotel public bar in Wimbledon Village, London.

He once bought a man in a pub a house in Scotland simply because he promised he would if he became famous.

He and Russell Crowe didn't get along during the making of Gladiator (2000).

As his uncle was an Oscar winning film director and his grandfather founded RADA he decided he did not need to go to drama school.

He was related to the ITV sports presenter Simon Reed.

His brother was a captain in the military police.

His niece Caroline was a dancer.

Oliver was an army private.

His great great great grandfather was Peter the Great.

He said that his best films were 'The Devils' and 'The Trap'.

Max Clifford claimed he covered up Reed's interest in underage girls.

His films generally failed to make much impression during the 1980s, and he became better known for his appearances on television chat shows.