Oliver Reed will be known to older generations as an actor, thespian, hellraiser, eccentric, and old guard macho man type.
He died suddenly aged 61 in May of 1999 during filming for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, having had an esteemed, but odd, career which was tainted by his reputation for troublemaking. For younger generations, such as us here at this site, he’s mostly known for his wild antics.
His troublemaking even continued in death – as Scott hadn’t finished the shoot for the film, Reed had to be digitally added in afterward (at a cost of circa $5 million). Throughout his career, his drinking antics marred his abilities; by the time the ’80s and ’90s rolled around, top acting roles were limited as he was too much of a liability.
Reduced to turning up drunk on chat shows, this kicked up a lot of amusing, witty, and weird behaviour. Let’s celebrate the man and his personality today, then, no matter how flawed it may have been! He was a charming bugger.
Oliver Reed: The Mad Interviews
Chair (wait for the ending)
Reed was clearly ever the showman – he was perfectly happy play the fool in order to get a laugh. As with most great comedians, it has to be mentioned.
This is the clip he’s referring to in the first clip. An old guard, charming misogynist (it’s difficult to work out if he’s being genuine, or just winding everyone up – what do you think?). He’s certainly got the charms – several miles above today’s tedious manosphere.
DrunkEn Chat SHow appearances
Then there’s this notorious appearance on the BBC. A friend of Reed’s later claimed Reed was acting during this performance – playing up his reputation as a drunken talk show host. You can make your mind up there.
Acting lessons right here. Want to be a big star? Straighten your hair and speak properly.
A special relationship
Oliver Reed and Keith Moon, two of the most eccentric individuals from the 1970s, hit it off big time and endured a special relationship together. Celebrate that here today with memorable stories.
And finally… Being normal
Just to confirm Reed was capable of behaving in a normal way, here’s this rare interview from ’65 in some film most people have possibly forgotten about. By Jove!