Born: February 13, 1938; Wimbledon, London, England
Died: May 2, 1999; Valletta, Malta (during filming of Gladiator)
Oliver Reed Bio
Robert Oliver Reed was born on February 13, 1938 Wimbledon, London, England. In 1959, he married Kate Burn. He made his film debut in The Angry Silence in 1960. He gained attention for his first starring role in The Curse of the Werewolf, a 1961 Hammer horror film. Though he was typecast as the villain in suspense dramas, costumed sagas and horror movies, he also got roles in films like These Are the Damned (1963), I'll Never Forget What's 'is Name (1967), The Jokers (1967), Hannibal Brooks (1969).
In 1968, he convinced his uncle, Carol Reed, to cast him as Bill Sykes in Oliver!, which went on to garner several awards. In 1969, Oliver Reed divorced his first wife, Kate Burn, and married his second wife Jackie Daryl. His second marriage lasted only until the next year, ending in divorce in 1970. Ken Russell cast him in the 1969 groundbreaking hit Women in Love which included a scene with Reed and co-star Alan Bates wrestling in the nude. Reed told the Los Angeles Times in 1971 that he had to drink a whole bottle of vodka before filming the scene.
Oliver Reed also appeared in Russell's excessive The Devils in 1971, and achieved popularity starring as Athos in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers in 1974 and its sequel, The Four Musketeers in 1975. He was severely injured during the filming of the windmill fight scene in The Three Musketeers. Also in 1975, he gave singing a try in Russell's adaptation of The Who's rock opera Tommy and Richard Lester's Royal Flash. In 1978, he starred in Michael Winner's The Big Sleep.
Oliver Reed was often described as a hard-drinking, temperamental, difficult type, both his girth and his never-entirely quashed tendency to chew scenery have swelled over the years, as he personified his fictional screen image. Reed often received more coverage about his off-screen antics. He partied hard with pals Lee Marvin and Keith Moon and battled with costars Bette Davis, Jack Nicholson, and Stuart Whitman. He also had public feuds with Richard Harris and Shelley Winters. True to his reputation, he died shortly after drinking with friends in Malta, where he was shooting Gladiator in May of 1999.
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