Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Fourteen

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

Previously in this Blog – We join Oliver as he enters the world of pop music, thanks to Ken Russell by joining the cast of Tommy. And then going drink of drink with Keith Moon which only adds to his reputation of the hellraiser only to only for it to come crashing down to earth with a huge on mighty bum when he meets one of Hollywood’s elite actors.

Chapter Fourteen – The tragedy of my life is that woman always leave me in the end – and usually before they get to know me properly.

Across the floor in a London restaurant a young man wanted to make a swap with Oliver his shirt of Oliver’s leather jacket at first Oliver said no but when the young man pointed out it had a laundry label with a Hollywood studios numbers and the name Errol Flynn on it, Within seconds Oliver had a new shirt. It was two days later still wearing the shirt Oliver’s phone rang and its director Richard Fleischer wanting him to play the part of Miles Hendon in The Prince and The Pauper – the part originally played forty years earlier by Errol Flynn.

The 70s remix would include some of the biggest names in British and American cinema including Rex Harrison, George c Scott, Ernest Borgnine, Raquel Welch and Charlton Heston the title roles of the Prince and the Pauper would be both be played by the teenager Mark Lester who made his film debut opposite Reed in Oliver.

Location shooting would start in Budapest in May 1976, and the producers were taking no chances, they had experienced Oliver’s drunken mayhem first hand. this time they insisted that a river and several kilometers separating him from the cast of the cast. But as ever Oliver behaved impeccably on set, he only disruptive influence was the inability to control his lazy eye which resulted in his fellow actors collapsing in a fit of giggles, which in the end made Oliver started to wear glasses.

However off set was totally different one evening Oliver had come up with the idea of staging a lavish West End production and was telling Michael Ripper and Racqel Welch when Oliver without a word smashed a huge geteau into his own face. ” in this business you have got to be able to laugh at yourself”

the way the shooting schedule had been arranged Oliver Farm himself with two or three days off a week these he had arranged and reserve for him and his friend Reg Prince to go on drinking binges and nightly romps through the bars of Budapest mostly ending in scuffles are mild fracas.

At the beginning of the film Mark Lester was legally still a minor and have been chaperon during the three months of the trip by his mother however by the 11th of July you was to celebrate 18th birthday and the producers and directors had organised a special dinner Oliver failed to turn up the dinner and that dozen so guests however when the sweet was being served the doors of the banqueting hall were kicked open and a disheveled and extremely drunk Oliver came staggering through he announced to Mark leaping onto the table this is for you. and standing in the doorway was a young woman wearing a very tight t-shirt and a very little else extremely well endowed chests were the word Mark Lester private. This president did not go down very well as you may guess and Oliver had to attempt to salvage the situation by entering a bowl of chocolate trifle over his head and frog marching out of the room. unfortunately the Prince and the Pauper would not only Mark the end of Childhood but also the end of his acting career since Oliver he made 15 films sometimes three in a year under the guidance of his parents, however coming-of-age Lester had rebel and demanded control of his financial affairs finding self access to teenage earnings he unfortunately squandered them on high living and drugs. finally at age 27 he was able to kick his addictions and sit his A-levels and become a qualified osteopath.

Alexis Camus – a distant relative of the existential writer and philosopher introduced himself to Oliver one night on a side street bar his mind she recalled was one of the most wonderfully bright and illuminating talking to the 38 year old actor she soon discovered there was a frightening difference between the sober and intoxicated personalities that Oliver held. without a drink he could take your breath away he was interested in so much politics the state of the world and a person’s character give him a drink and he was juvenile a child within a man’s mind with a little boys imagination mysterious things. Oliver’s physical side with far less attractive. he never seen white clean to his French acquaintances who got the impression that he wore the same clothes for days on end. but when he died out with Steve but it was Oliver’s lack of patience and not his clothes that attracted the attention. 1 favourite restaurant was on a street corner with a bar on the ground level the dining room was on the first floor. The restaurant was full but there was no sign of any wages when Oliver attempted to leave he was pressured to stay by Ford half an hour later there are they order still not taken, Oliver pulled himself to his full height picked up a chair and hold it through a window into the street, within seconds and irate manager and five waiters had surrounded Oliver’s table. So he sat down and placed his order.

Oliver returned to England very enthusiastic about working with Michael Winner again, The Big Sleep was the director’s 19th film and it’s 5th with Oliver in the principal role this time as Eddie Mars, a deep and dangerous London casino owner. For the first time winner noticed that his friends drinking habits work beginning to impinge on professionalism while shooting in Chorley Wood and up market Suburb Oliver arrived and announce to winner and his fellow star Robert Mitchum that he I’ve been sitting on a pole the previous evening and done himself some serious damage and he was very insistent that he showed both men. Much to the disappointment and anger of Winner.

on Thursday the 8th of September 1977 Oliver walk to be confronted by the newspaper long knowing it was inevitable the front of the Daily Mirror contains just one headline, drug death drama for wild man Moon Keith Moon the man forever responsible for Oliver Reed’s sense of the bizarre was dead. to Oliver it was a wasteful frightening self deprecating death and for the first time, sowed within the actor thoughts of his own mortality.

by the late 1970s Ian Ogilvy has taken over from Roger Moore as TV Simon Templar, and instead of filming on the back lots of the English Studios they were now replaced with European towns and cities for most of the episodes. and in 1980 the return of the sacred where in the South of France was Oliver, One evening Ian and producer Robert Baker were joined by the Saints elderly creator Leslie Charteris, the Trio were enjoying a drink with Oliver staggered into the bar the barman experience in the ways of the Drunken actor promptly disappeared.
Baker introduced Oliver to both men Oliver was visibly impressed to meet Charteris and pulling a knife insisted that they become Blood Brothers unmoved and unimpressed charteris coldly placed his hand behind his back and picked up the conversation from where they were had been interrupted. Oliver eventually mumbled his way out the bar leaving a trail of blood across the carpet.

Oliver’s relationship with women, was uncompromising and dictatorial and total, he would exercise a kind of Long Distance control over his former mistresses, often telephoning them at hours to pass judgement on theiAr dress up outfit to disapprove of the choice in new boyfriend. one actress in Oliver had an affair with during his marriage to take returns to her Hotel from an award ceremony find a few minutes later the telephone ringing it was Oliver and it was 3 in the morning he had seen her on the television news with a certain man on her arm and called him called her to warn her off the man. after the phone call she suddenly realised that it wasn’t an ex lover calling it was a father or grandfather figure giving her a bit of gentle advice to his favourite relative and it was 14 years after Oliver and her had broken up.

To an individual woman Oliver could be charming and attentive and demanding the same courtesy from his male companions, once reprimanding his son for not liking a female hotel guests cigarette, But he was developing loathing for women as a gender, which frequently got him into trouble and only intensified with age. Unlike his public drunkenness which had learnt to turn on and off at will Oliver hated and intolerance of woman never wavered, and just like the Victorian monument in which he lived, his chattel mentality was lost somewhere in the dark corners, corridors and stairwells of a discredited age and he could see no sense of reason why he should try and find his way out.

by the late 70s his performances on radio and television programme, notably in America that will legendary Oliver’s first appearance on the Jimmy Carson tonight show produced sky high ratings but the actor very few friends. the vet presenter had interviewed the actress Shirley Winters who remained on set when Carson introduced Oliver who then began to expand on his attitude to women and Winters became very visibly agitated and in fact at one point stood up and put her drink of water all over Oliver’s head is comments were bleeped out in order not to offend the viewers what were quoted in full in a studio press release the following day. After the Oliver added Shelley Winters was the one without manners not him.

On-One extended to visit South of France, Oliver Twist persuaded to invest New York who is the light He discovered the yacht was in fact a 64 Chinese jump and the only vessel of its kind in the Mediterranean Sea called the Ding Hao it was on by French Canadian businessman called Cornel Demere. Demere sent his daughter Susie over to Europe to collect the cheque, ever the gentlemen Oliver put her up at his Villa when the business was concluded, She was to fly back to Canada with Oliver but he didn’t want to accept this. So backed into a corner busted to the last and on the morning of Departure he rang the villa were his friend Stevie Ford was staying. With Susie in ear shot Oliver told his friend to find his passport tickets, but as she disappeared for a second he told Ford to ignore the the instructions, but Ford felt he was being played and carry them up to the letter you bought tickets and passport and managed to make the airport just in time, But when boarding began, Oliver was nowhere to be seen he simply disappeared and Susie when back home on her own.

Oliver’s third and final pairing with Glenda Jackson should have sound alarm bells long before shooting had even started. Miss Jackson was hired by the producer screenwriter Judd Bernards to play the title role in The Class of Miss McMichael filmed in Bethnal Green, Oliver would play her authoritarian and hypocritical headmaster and it was written as a black comedy, It soon became apparent to everyone concerned that the project budget what is strictly at the battle Scarred Eastend school in which it was to be shot. For Jackson the tight schedule and budget almost ended her career after a bitter clash with the headmaster her character went around and systematically destroyed his office in a climatic frenzy of the sea she was to put the bookcase down but unknown to her the props department has not been yet be able to replace the rear glass with sugar stunt glass so when she was to pull the bookcase towards her she was showered with glass.Oliver’s meeting with Miss Jackson work professional and perfunctory and restricted to the set they only saw each other during working hours and never socialise even when the film unit went to dinner they sat at opposite ends of the table.

In 1978 Oliver was presented with an opportunity he couldn’t turn down, with the promise of a huge publishers check he began to write his own autobiography the book was written on the run with Oliver remembering indicating memories and stories in pubs and restaurants and On Films says he’s ghostwriter transcribed and polished it. and in such a mood he could elaborate and fabricate almost anything he wanted. it was only true in the sense that Oliver whished it would have happened and so he made it happen. and a among his friends at the launch party of Reed All About Me he was asked by David ball the accountant.
So this is your book then
Yeah, Load of old bollocks really

After thirteen years together Oliver and Jacquie were coming to the the realisation that they’re kind of marriage had involved and degraded into a Jekyll and Hyde situation. Which non of them truly understood very well apart they would telephone each other almost daily but together in the same house for more than a month they embarrass themselves and their friends with their long rambling arguments. The catalyst which marked the end of their time at Broome Hall was when Stephen Ford had had enough of the freeloaders that seem to congregate round Oliver every Sunday and one particular Sunday when 20 people had decided to join in with the annual trip to the Indian restaurant and the bill of £200 was presented he passed Oliver’s hat around and it became clear that many were there are just for the free booze and food.

Added to the fact Oliver’s expensives outpaced his income and in fact the whole house was now a sponge the money off at Oliver Bonas from day one but he continued to make several alterations without really thinking of the consequences even more hours were lost when he demanded is craftsman built to secret but within the estate grounds the first was a two Storey treehouse with a 13 foot ladder which lead to an invited guests area with a fully stocked rural bar. and a second behind the house disguised as a traditional garden shec which contain several easy chairs and the choice of a dozen types of cider.

by 1979 Oliver’s relationship was also nearly bankrupt he had tried to propose two years earlier but Jacquie had turned him down, been married only have made them both unhappy and very irresponsible. She said they had been some vey good times, but much of it had been very difficult as a husband would have been a mess and giving her nothing but insecurities. And on new year’s eve with the individual skirmishes merging into one running battle she finally and now she had the intention to leave as soon as the holidays are over. so Oliver loaded his favourite shotgun stormed into the kitchen round the clock hands to midnight and put both of barrels into its face
Jacquie moved out the next day and by the end of January Broome Hall had been sold.

What I think – well we reach the crossroads with this one, Oliver’s behavior has become his Legacy and legend already which was fine when it was just himself or his many members of his drinking clubs. whatever the situation is whatever the outcome It would just be put down oh that Oliver he’s harmless. But it costing him flim roles or TV interviews all of which have a domino effect no job no money no house no booze. And it wasn’t as if people were giving in ways to change all that. But it was simple to stay in a kind of holding pattern, and like Oliver sid his self he had no real desire to change no real drive. All that was taken up by the acting if he could get it and damn right stupid acts which once would make directors and producers pause for a second when they thought about casting creating a vicious circle.

And even Oliver himself is beginning to craft his own legend by writing or retelling his autobiography to his Ghost Writer, panting himself as he would want to be seen yes we have all done it but not the extent Oliver has.

I don’t think we’re done with the downfall Oliver just yet, his best friend and his wife calling out both the freeloaders and walking out won’t really things just yet there has to be a greater catastrophe or disaster which make Oliver slow down and by be stop just if only to look around at want his life has become.

Looking at the book there is about seven chapters left, one or two are as big if not bigger that this one I not going cut them down or edit them. as I said at the beginning of this project the whole idea was to give a glimpse into this man’s life, for good or bad everything. So can make your own judgements. Now that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering more of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week.

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Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Thirteen.

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

Previously in this Blog – We were witness to Richard Lester try to help Oliver to breathe new life into his fading movie roles, but Oliver’s behavior, doesn’t go down very well with the other members of the cast and local police. Yet in the end together find common ground studio decides to cut the film into two releases.

Chapter Thirteen – Darling ! Remain me ! Did I really wave my chopper around in the casino last night”

Keith Moon who at 18 years old was a bona fide a popstar and the youngest member of The Who and a 21 year old American making music and mayhem on by 25 he entered the hierarchy of the British popscene. Appointed himself Oliver Reed’s guide down on the road to insanity which would proof boozy blistering bumpy and frequently dangerous and most often illegal.

Moon who had discovered at a very early age Oliver in his mid 30s was only just coming to accept is that life was to be lived shambolically, bottle by bottle confronting disapproving and humiliation with nostrils flared. Catching the cocktails the pop age Oliver willingly and braced the three basic and enduring icons sex, booze and the ability to monumentally piss about.

According to Oliver their first meeting involved Keith Moon landing a helicopter in the grounds of Oliver’s house and him leaving a bath one Sunday morning, running out to see who it was carrying only a broadsword above his head. Yet in reality it was little more mundane.

Pete Townshend the creative Force within the who had written rock opera Tommy in 1969, first issued on record and then later adapted for the stage 5 Tonys a Grammy and an Olivier award the manager Robert stigwood decided to make a screen version by 1973 negotiations were complete and the Producers began by signing Ken Russell as director. And it was Ken who wanted Oliver to play the part of Tommy’s uncle Frank. The audition took place at Ramport recording in Battersea, which didn’t go well as Ken wanted Oliver to sing the songs from the show and Townsend wanting to find Oliver’s range. In the end presented Ken Russell with a new and unique double problem not only was the active you capable of singing but it was also obvious he would be unable to mine to the playback track that would be used on set.

The session was abandoned in Oliver and badly need advice and encouragement Oliver drove home and ran himself through the Mists of the imagination tried to explain his dilemma to his grandfather tree, he was Oliver admitted no singer and his attempt at such endeavours had sunk without Trace and his grandfather advice team against trying to play it for real with professional pop singers. But Oliver in the end was able to lip sync to at least one of his songs, however however Ken Russell effectively swap Oliver’s roll with Keith Moon on screen in essence everything moon had originally been scripted to do Oliver would now do.

As ever, Oliver proved himself the customer professional, But off camera he found it hard to keep pace wiith Moons Anarchy And the sixteen weeks schedule ranged from the lake district to the south coast of England taking in London and Middlesex on the way when they move to location Robert Stigwood and Russell decided to most troublesome members of the cast would be booked in two different hotels as far apart as possible.

Tommy wasn’t the only film Oliver made in the early summer of 1974 his contract with Russell allowed 2 weeks to fly to Germany to play the Bombastic part of Count Otto von Bismarck in George MacDonald Fraser adaptation of his own book Royal Flush. While he was away Moon took over his hotel room. And when Oliver return he found Keith Moon apparently naked and attempting to concentrate on a TV program as a very well endowed young lady perform a very intimate act on his body.

A few days later moon, called Oliver into his bedroom to help him fix the broken television unaware of his friends Motives Oliver help me drag to set towards the balcony window, before Oliver could react Moon had lifted the television over the rail and sent it plummeting into the car park below. A few seconds later a porter charged into the room and moon offhandedly said next time please answer the phone when I call.

By June the cast moved to Hayling Island, holiday resort near Plymouth. shooting for the day Finnieston Oliver persuaded moon and Douglas Butler to cross the solemn and visit a friend of his on the Isle of Wight by the time the Drunken trio returned to the pub the ferry had departed and they were stranded, And Oliver had to be on set at dawn the next day4 hours later they eventually break a girl and her father to Ferry them back across the Solent to the mainland in an oversized rowing boat. By the time the book approach to island astorm was blowing off show making it possible to approach the single beach moon followed by a nervous Butler and an even more apprehensive Oliver dived into breakers and swim for it. the film crew and technicians at Argos started breakfast when moon and Oliver entered the dining room they were wet shaving and totally naked. and in a very loud voice Oliver said we have not got time for breakfast.

With a break in filming Oliver return home and Moon to his Kensington flat, but moon then suddenly arrived unannounced at the Surrey Estate with a newly acquired American video camera. the next day and houseguests assistance Oliver turned the Halls Terrace into an improvised set and with Moon directions from behind the camera. Oliver Moon’s girlfriend and Douglas attempted to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream. other surreal ideas to shape in Oliver and friends summer lasted no more than Andy buy a pair of press agencies to watch and photograph as they walk around the grounds of the hall.

However one of the more darker interactions with me Sunday July 1974 moon arrived at the hall as unannounced but strangely subdued you was never the healthiest looking individual and to Oliver and his wife the musician appeared very pale and desperately washed-out. Moon’s wrist was bandaged and obviously he was in considerable pain. Oliver asked ask him how he is managed to damage his wrist and moons reply was he had got into a fight and Oliver knew this to be a deliberate lie. The previous Monday only hours after driving back to London mood has attempted to commit suicide by slashing his wrists with a broken bottle he had refused to have the wound treated and it’s slowing turned septic.

The Who and moon were due to fly to America in 2 weeks and John Eric Clapton on tour Ali who would not see his friend for almost a year but before he left the drummer had one more surprise for his newly found friend. Oliver was still in bed when he heard the sound of a lorry crunching up the gravel driveway by the time Oliver has reached the outside of the house the delivery man started unloading first out was a huge tiger rug than a chess set and the foreman handed Oliver over a note.
It was written in Moon’s hand as Andy asked if Oliver could look after a few things while he was away there was a postscript the rhinos name Hornby and the dog’s name was beanbag. the rhino was thankfully fibreglass but the Great Dane, had inherited several bad habits from its original owner including head-butting glass door and panels in attempt to search for food the dog remained with Oliver until it’s death and the fiberglass mammals were placed in the rhododendron bushes at the top of the drive to discourage many visitors it to move several times with Oliver.

For various reasons most financial, Oliver’s brother David made his latest flim contact start and end in Los Angeles and spanned the weeks either end of Christmas 1975. arriving at the Beverly Wilshire hotel dressed in a pinstripe suit Oliver ask if his co star had checked.
finding the answer with no he sent the bell by to find the Great American actor Lee Marvin who was stretched out on a bench outside using an old satchel as a pillow still half asleep and obviously annoyed at being walked he came into the lobby Oliver held his hand and introduced himself only to have Lee Marvin turn around and say
I was told I was going to work with Britain’s biggest hellraiser and all I see here is a tailors dummy dressed like a banker.
things did not improve and Lee Marvin devastated Oliver Reed from the very first moment he saw him in later years Lee Marvin did try to correct the mistake but he couldn’t it was not the professional thing to do he honestly said though Oliver was a natural given actor.

The Great Scout producers decided to ship the cast crew and equipment to the town of Durango De Victoria, the motel offered only the basic cuisine, served in large tiled dining room because of its size the cast and crew soon adopted as a out-of-hours Lounge, each evening after dinner Oliver Woodhall Court never allowing anybody to pay for a round of drinks and always ordering 6 bottles a Mexican white wine at a time. 1 most notable evening Oliver decided to pack off the only other member of the crew who had invited a female partner to the location he informed me that he was going to bed and when the Gentlemen objected he said well I’m terribly sorry but I’m going to be smashing up this place in 10 minutes and I wouldn’t want you to have your lady get hurt. and as they crossed the motel courtroom the gentleman and his partner had the sound of two wooden dining tables being held through the floor to ceiling picture window. however the next evening Oliver arrived to find the windows had been replaced and the furniture repair, as he entered the dining room he stopped by the manager who handed in a bill Oliver then took the piece of paper from him and then pulled out a wodge of dollar bills and paid the $300 and added $50 more and ordered six bottles of wine.

Oliver’s second flim of the year was irrelevantly tirled 1976 mystery in which an evil house restoring itself by feeling on its tenants, the project had some very uncanny echoes of the Great Scott film Oliver found himself once again opposite one American’s legendary stars, who took , an immediate and antagonistic dislike to him. Betty Davis her first look Oliver sniff the air and as if he had something very nasty to stuck to the bottom of the shoe. and from then on the veteran actress referred to him as that man and only spoke directly to him when the script demanded it.

What I Think – Well two of the world’s most well known hellraisers meeting for the first time. And like most cosmic events like this both men leaving wake of destruction behind them but in that something wake we get things like Tommy. I have reached the point in this biography to the effect of if Oliver doesn’t damage or seriously injure anybody else but himself then fine let him be let him let off steam. And with Keith Moon that’s want did and show the world for want it was one big joke. But when moon left his company and his history behind him Oliver was left alone and even when he tried to resume his acting in America the shadow of the hellraiser still played it part. so playing the English gentleman abroad was not what was called for and would never suit Oliver anyway. How thus will all fall into is yet to be seen .So that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering more of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week.

Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Twelve.

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

Previously in this Blog – Oliver and Ken Russell work on yet other flim together called the devils which he literally shaves to an inch of his life, forced to learn Latin like it performing dog. And accused of blasphemy by several members of the British public. Later he works with Glenda Jackson once again and it goes as well as the last time. Yes they hate each other but Oliver is never in doubt that Glenda Jackson is fabulous actress. This also marks the first time Oliver reveals his whole self while promoting a film.

Chapter Twelve – “I assumed from the outset I’d be successful”

By 1973 the now 36 year old Oliver was out of sync with the British film industry which by now was almost universally blind to the creative possibilities and commercial pulling power the only person that was to believe in him was the the director Richard Lester. There was no shortage of work but Oliver it but it seems to receive less and less starring roles in Greater pictures more supporting roles in smaller pictures.

One year later sword were drawn on the swashbuckling remake of The Three Musketeers and it was Oliver’s name that would appear on screen. This latest treatment would be a three and a half hour Blockbuster are mostly in Spain. To ensure it’s American American success Leicester had sprinkled the cast with international staff Michael York would play Dogtanian with Richard Chamberlain as Aramis Simon Ward as a Duke Buckingham and Raquel Welch as madame Bonancieux, Geraldine Chaplin as Anna of Austia, Faye Dunaway as Milady de Winter and Charlton Heston as cardinal richelieu along with Christopher Lee. For Leicester there was only one pot big enough for Oliver he would play the smouldering world-weary swordsman Athos all Oliver needed to change his clothes.

William Hobbs at 33 year old fight arranger was chosen for the film swordsman. he quickly persuaded Leicester to abandon the more traditional Hollywood style of stage swords replacing them for them authentic heaviest swords and rapiers. With less than 2 weeks before cast and crew of departed for Spain pubs called the first fight rehearsal before choreographing the stone he needed to see how agile the actors were and how quickly they could absorb the new complex directions. Michael York and Richard Chamberlain obediently arrived for rehearsals at the gym of the Swiss Cottage school on time. However Oliver refused to attend and a rehearsal session was arranged for him at broom Hall. But the rehearsal ended with Oliver developing a painful leg but in truth it was sheer lack of boredom.

In Spain shooting for The Three Musketeers was delayed while Raquel Welch and the Producers wrangled over her costume, Welch insisted that she would be allowed to wear dresses designed by her boyfriend the Producers refused and the dispute remote on for days until a compromis was reached. So the rest of the cast filled the time by organising and hosting parties, at one particular party Raquel Welch sent her hairdresser and because she was upset as she had not received a formal invitation, Oliver went on to explain that his drinking sessions were an open house and loudly added well she was keeping the whole unit waiting he had no particular time to spend writing out fancy invitations. Welch took umbrage with this, and considered she was badly treated and the only words she would exchange with Oliver were those in the Script.

Film eventually started in Toledo, the ancient Spanish city itself famous as a mediaeval sword making center, and all the equipment was setup up the the shore of the river Tagus. However as the cameras roll for the first few seconds of the 210 minutes adventure Oliver slammed his rapier across the head of the chief stuntman. It was the disaster William Hobbs had been expecting. which resulted in the Spanish stuntman insisting on the drawing lots to decide who fight the British actor.

Off set Oliver’s behavior was just as erratic and presented Richard Lester with a clutch of not unforeseen problems. At weekends the cast and crew retreated to the five star Hilton Hotel in Madrid. One early morning Lester was woken by the night manager and informed him that the police were in the lobby trying to arrest Oliver who had spent the night drinking and arrived back at the hotel shedding his clothes and climbing into the hotel giant fish tank where he made an elaborate display of swallowing and wiggling a few of the fish. Martin Mark police officers and Oliver decided it was time he left naked and dripping about his audience before splashing his way back to his room. the whole story made the headlines and added the fact that Animal Rights groups were picketing the set.

Two months later Oliver was once again clashing with the hotel management this time it landed in the court and on the streets, on the 18th of July 1973 Oliver and a group of friends stopped at the Hilton’s coffee bar after a night out in Madrid what started as a round of drinking and banter quickly degenerated into the inevitable test of strengths, and Oliver began challenging all the other occupants of the restaurant screaming at the top of his lungs “I’m the greatest a true British blue I’ll take on anyone” overturning tables and smashing glass and ashtrays with people rushing away out of the restaurant not wanting to get hurt or involved
In the end took five policeman to subdue the actor and drag him into the waiting van, Oliver protested throughout shouting leave me alone I’m Athos one of the musketeers you can’t touch me.

Sometime between the filming and the editing the Producers decided the three and a half hour epic certainly too long cinema it would be cut almost exactly in half and issued as two separate features The Three Musketeers – the Queen’s diamonds in 1973 and one year later The Four Musketeers the Revenge of milady, within weeks the majority of the stars including Oliver had threatened a joint legal action cast successfully claimed that second release would be considered a second film and therefore require them to be paid the same money as the first.

And once back home at Broome Hall Oliver’s baronial life continued, and when and Ken Russell was invited over film the king’s men Oliver answered the door wearing his Athos costume complete with rapier. and challenging him to a sword fight by snatching up a dry roasted broadsword. With the out come Russell having a small cut down his chest, but in later years Oliver would paint a very different picture. A fight for his very life.

What I think. – Even when Oliver is given a decent part in a blockbuster flim he finds a way of messing it up, I know that there is way of publicising his work on the film fake stories in the newspaper or silly TV interviews. But Oliver goes all out for real and it’s catching up with him now. That’s fine if he pushing against overbearing directors and Studios who can’t understand what he’s tried to achieve, that’s part of the world. In fact when the studio tried to make the 3 hour epic film into 2 hours he rallied around with the rest of the cast to make sure everybody was equally compensated. But Richard Lester was going out of his way to help. Which Oliver just threw away, I get the feeling The Musketeer flims maybe the last of good parts he will have for a long time. Hopefully I am wrong as Ken Russell has come back into Oliver’s life once again. So that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering more of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week.

Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Eleven

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

Previously in this Blog – We witnessed Oliver behavior cause him to lose out on two flim roles one being the second James Bond. And the end of the his marriage. But this didn’t stop him from fliming his first western which in the end gave him a love of horse and once back in England he bought a house in the countryside. Employing his brother as his manager and thank less job, which also Oliver make harder by truning down work in Hollywood and billing himself as Mr England.

warning this blog may contain scenes and descriptions people of a certain disposition may find offensive or blasphemous

Chapter Eleven.

In 1969 Ken Russell had sent John Trevelyan a script for the flim The Devils and asked him to let him know if anything in it that might produce a censorship problem. Trevelyan was in the unique position that any cuts to the flim he would ask for wouldn’t back to hunt him be the next guy. When the flim would eventually released with a X certificate and campaign book by its Warner Bros distributors. So by the late Sixties Ken had assumed an almost mystical presence, So thoughout the summer of 1970 one of the largest sound stages was transformed into a sixteenth century replica of London. Before fliming started Ken called all the extras together to inform them what they could expect most would have to play one scene naked others would be ‘Flagellated’ and the woman playing nuns would have to have their heads shaved for which they would be paid extra. However Oliver who was playing the part of Father Grandier had to have every hair removed which he accepted until his eyebrows which he didn’t want lose. Ken told him that that was the whole point of the scene they were to shave his entire body and do unspeakable acts with red hot pokers. So after a few seconds Oliver traded his eyebrows for the pokers and a insurance policy of half a million pounds in they did not grow back.

But the next day loss of eyebrows wasn’t Oliver’s main concern in fact he had threatened to quit because of Russell’s insistence Oliver will learn Latin effete Oliver found extremely difficult in fact not only to read but pronounce. So Russell came to the conclusion they would keep a few lines of Latin much to Oliver’s delight. Yet unknown to Russell Oliver had come up with an ingenious solution so he wouldn’t have to learn the lines because in one scene Oliver had an object into holy water and a knight the bodies of his congregation while chanting Latin he got through the take by writing lives on tiny scraps of paper surreptitiously floating in the water out of sight of the camera. In another profile shot Oliver had to Neil down break bread while chanting a Latin prayer Russell was left speechless and the set remain silent in astonishment that Oliver was able without stopping to get through the entire scene. But when Russell called for a second take the whole scheme was unraveled as Oliver wasn’t quick enough to hide the pieces of paper this time and Russell exploded and made Oliver return to his caravan and learn every single word by heart.

The Devils was being premiered at the 1971 Venice Flim Festival in a clever publicity stunt the Italian distributors in writing a cross section of society to sit through and first screening the only people to reject with a theologians unlike the Last Time Russell had release a film in Venice this was met by the bun was met by protests and the previous film had it’s ban lifted. At home when the flim received its first showing fans queued around the block and every seat was sold. But the critic Alexander Walker was very unkind call in the film a ghastly glossary sadomasochim and a masturbatory fantasies.

the first threat to a general release in a few days after with the new chairman of the Greater London film Council Mark Preston calling for a special viewing. the committee agreed by just three votes to allow the Devil’s to be shown in cinemas across London. the next people to be fat off with a festival of light a organisation which claimed to be the authentic voice of Britain it tried contacting churches outside London and encourage ministers and congregations to pressure at the local authorities ban Russell film but few council’s agreed.

For Russell The Devil’s remain a film worth making, ” it was a political statement although the events took place over 400 years ago corruption and mass brainwashing by the church and the state is still with us, as is the insatiable craving for sex and violence by the general public.”
Oliver like the rest of the cast Riley supported the film and they were he admitted some ridiculous scenes but it wasn’t outrageous or horrific or even blasphemous Oliver also emphasised Russell’s attempt to subdue his audience with the moments of accuracy and total belief only to make them cast with lightning jokes of insanity and stupidity much the same as Oliver live in his old life.

Yet the strain of distributing the film play heavily on their relationship and they could not no longer hold a conversation or look each other in the eye but sometimes they could not bear to be in the same room there was an emptiness now in the relationship with needed to lie Fallow until it could be recharged.

Graham Cottle had bought the rights to The Triple Echo and while Robin Chapman adopted adapted EH Bates novel the Producers began to search for a director the one they found with television director Michael Apted, thankfully went into stars two of the leads were already under contract it would be the first time Oliver and Glenda Jackson and works together since women in love, where would soon be joined by newcomer Brian Deacon. Aware of Apted relative in experience and adding Deacon into the mix The producers decided to allow the unusual step of the actor’s power to veto the choice Director. Miss Jackson welcomed the chance to work with a new fresh director, Oliver was once again offered a short fee with a percentage of the profits flexed his boxoffice muscle by threatening to the decline the film unless the script was changed as he didn’t like the fact Miss Jackson was his love interest. And when former members of the Field Ambulance unit Oliver had been with doing his national service most of them commented that the only difference was that Oliver on screen had another stripe as he was almost mimicking his own voice and manner even making the same guttural sounds he used to do one matching them around the drill Square. Oliver and Jackson each other from a distance and separate areas of the film set Oliver as a woman from their first meeting he had minor as a talented actress and was never afraid to say so.

at one of the press launches for the film the questions turned from his recent performance to that of Burt Reynolds who has just appeared as a playgirl centerfold and Oliver had admitted declining such a similar offer joking his manhood would have been too big to fit on the page. and with cries of prove it he didn’t I refuse the challenge and promptly remove it from his trousers. years later he was asked about the incident “I don’t display it as often as it’s reported I certainly do don’t do it at the drop of a hat I don’t mind taking it out occasionally a winkle is a Winkle and I’ve happily pull it out to get a reaction if people are hurt or outraged by what I do then they’re missing the point the point being that life shouldn’t be about sitting around staring at frosted glasses life should be lived and that’s all there is to it.”

What I think – Well Oliver crossed a few lines here from high art to clownish buffoonery and back again. I guess that he’s trying all kinds of things to see want fits, Not only as an outrageous actor who pushes the boundaries of censorship imposed in the 1970s by the British censorship board. But also how far he can push himself he’s willing to take part in several stunts and several business opportunities taking short fees but if you if not all of the films he and Ken Russell created. That must huge undertaking to have that much pressure not only does this performance have to be right on the first take it also has to appeal to the public so he does not lose money.

yet he can see the hole roller coaster and the whole image of himself as being just a character he plays to drum up business at the cost of a little bit of public respect.

I would like to have it known here that I did leave out a small section of the story in the early part of this blog as it had to do with his co-star in The Devils film Miss Vanessa Redgrave it was extremely heartbreaking and did not have any bearing on the eventual outcome and I don’t think Mr Cliff Goodwin should have included it although it is a matter of public record.

So that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering more of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week.

Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Ten

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

In the Previous in this blog – We spent the whole of the last chapter with Oliver as we saw the conception, read through and shooting of the flim Woman In Love. We were witness to his misogynistic and misguided attitude towards his female co-star his fear, nervousness and and damn right ridiculous attitude towards filming his first mainstream nude scene with another male co-star. Yet in the end to whole thing is seen as act on his part to make wave and carve out his place on celluloid.

Chapter Ten I may look like a Bedford truck but somehow I unconsciously give the promise of having a V8 engine – uncomfortable perhaps – but fast

Oliver was now 31 and the public was already accepting him as working class royalty, by day he was photographed in the company famous golfers of pop stars arriving at the opening of state in the back of a lorry and at night pie eyed and slightly typed in various London pubs and clubs. And this overfamiliarty would unfortunately lead to the last of Oliver’s most prestigious and lucrative role in his career. With the departure of Sean Connery from the bond franchise cubby broccoli Harry saltzman began and new world wide search for James Bond. There was certainly no doubt Oliver’s acting ability in his previous film he displayed a technical grasp of his craft in the ability to sustain harsh physical psychological scrutiny.

For the latest James Bond adventure the Producers the chosen on Her Majesty’s Secret Service a fantastical Love Story adapted almost word for word from flemings original novel. Shortly before his death and with hindsight broccoli admitted it was a lost opportunity an oversight shared by the critic and writer Andrew Rissik. Oliver would have brought a glowing menace to the mayhem while he might have been able, in the romantic scenes to do what country have never attempted to bring a comic strip fantasy to the films the emotionally obsessive Byronic loner of the later books.

For Broccoli the decision to discard Oliver for Lazenby, was far more question of image and imagination. Lazenby it was an unknown actor and could it be molded into the public perception of James Bond into the kind of Bond the fans wanted. With Oliver they had far greater problem because he already had a public image he was well known for working hard and playing even harder they would have had to destroy his image and rebuild it from the Ground Up which they did not have the time or the money to do. Also Oliver’s disintegrating marriage and increased public affairs, didn’t sit well with Broccoli. Equally destructive was Oliver’s drinking when he was in a bad mood which was usually constantly he was unable and unwilling to deal with anybody in a civilised manor,

The end of the marriage came when kate was informed about Oliver’s lover being pregnant, and after a very heated divorce in which Oliver tried and failed to defend his concept of marriage Kate won custody of there son and the financial support. So temporarily freed from his responsibility Oliver and his brother Simon joined together a formed ‘The Portley Club’ a drinking club who’s members could call upon each whatever the hour of the day/night and be subject to many games.

Oliver had completed his first full decade as an actor and just finished 1/35 film his next contract would pass another milestone in his career he was about to make his first western. The Hunting Party was being flimed in Spain with Oliver playing the role of Frank Calder who mistakenly kidnaps the wife of a millionaire cattle Baron played by Gene Hackman. In his contract Oliver was taught to ride and handle a gun like a cowboy, his horse for the film was called Archibald the pair became so attached to other that Archibald began to play tricks on his Rider by nibbling his ear and much to Oliver’s displeasure at the end of the shoot here offered to buy the horse but unfortunately Madrid stables were unwilling to sell him. Although the film behave poorly at the box office did give Oliver the enthusiasm to find a horse of his own, and with help of Johnny and Jane Kidd he was able to do just that a horse called Dougal.

Oliver convinced himself it was time to establish some set of roots and find a permanent home for himself and Dougal the plot of land he said that was a 65 room former monastery at the top of a rolling Surrey Hills of South Dorking. And was by the time Oliver had his hands on it was a nearly nearly derelict wreck and been empty for years. Peter Reed (father) was horrified his son with charming to buy a £85,000 heap of rubble in the middle of the country. So Oliver bought him a new home to. the house and its history fascinated Oliver who is family focus on long-term picture every brick in every room was something wonderful to Oliver yet his brother believed it was more ego that history.

While Broome Hall provided Oliver with a sense of arrival it also left him Feeling Strangely isolated, the solution was a simple one one by one surround himself with the friends he had made in Wimbledon, the first recruit was Simon Oliver’s half brother who became his press agent / manager attempting to keep track of income and expenses. The second were Mr Bill Dobson and his wife Jenny Gardner and housekeeper.

Simon’s job was made hard because Oliver would get bored and would create a threatening drama, nudging things along but keeping Simon in the dark most of the time. In interviews at the time Oliver would call himself Mr England calling out actors who had left England take on other roles people like Sean Connery and Michael Caine even going so far as turn down two leading in Jaws and The String. Unknown to Oliver, his bad behavior was the real reason Hollywood don’t call after a few years and twenty years Oliver admitted it was the biggest mistake of his career

What I think.

So we have two people, one Oliver Reed the actor the other Oliver Reed the human being trying to work out he real perspective on the world around him filling in gaps he doesn’t understand with drinking and other things. Which are now costing him two major milestones one being James Bond and the other Hollywood’s calls. so there is now to much crossover to be pulled back or patched over so Oliver the actor steps in to fill the role for the public view.

So that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering more of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week.

Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Eight.

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

In the Previous in this blog – with Oliver’s career moving ever forward there is not really anything to occupy his mind so he begins to look outside of both his marriage and work life, So unfortunately he comes up against the fringe criminal element and in one particular instance becomes a heavy for a known crime family. And to add more worries is to his lap he gets into a fight a quite dramatic fight which causes several days of pain and leaves him with a permanent scar across his face. however incident does not stop the maverick documentary filmmaker Ken Russell from taking me on as Debussy in a BBC production, and then on two more times. And with this money he is able to buy a bigger much larger family home but it will be a last one spends with both Kate and his young son.

Chapter Eight – ‘Contrary to popular belief, I am not the greatest crumpet bumper of all time’

Michael Winner had a new project called The Jokers he had hired writers Dick Clement and Ian la Francis those award-winning Thames Television comedy writers of The Likely Lads, and actor Michael Crawford. Who is quite astonished that Michael Winner would want to cast Oliver as his brother. Rofford Lodge The Script but refused to commit himself as he was about to start rehearsals for a West End show and did not really want another disastrous film. So with time running out Winter finally suggested that the two actors should meet. And when Oliver arrived at produces office accompanied by his skinny younger brother Simon, to Michael Crawford astonishment Simon looked almost identical so there was no more argument.

Crawford soon discovered that was always a certain amount of physical risk working with his new co-star. Oliver wood and periodically at random run up to his co-star and give him a huge brotherly bear hug. Crawford was exceptionally dedicated and hard-working style of acting was already showing glimpses of the dysfunctional and maladroit character he would only 7 years later as Frank Spencer some mothers do have em. He would dislike his co-star Oliver by leaping across the appraisement and jumping head first into an open door of a Rolls-Royce however this style did not go down with the director Michael Winner and was more of an annoyance. Oliver and Crawford were not above the odd practical jokes the director’s expense and with the use of black shoe polish smeared across the mouthpiece of winners megaphone it made him look like he was wearing black lipstick and the instrument was finally removed from set.and when a year later the film was finally released it was given universal praise and some were calling it the British best double act since Laurel and Hardy.

Peter Draper had written The System for Michael Winner and accepted the idea of the same thing trilogy but was finding it very hard to commit himself to a second script, set five or six years after the first and having Oliver’s character head to London. Winner even got the Legendary Hollywood actor Orson Welles play apart. The flim’s title I’ll Never What’s ‘isname – was meant to symbolise the Jenny and Quicksilver mentality of the 60s advertising industry. Oliver Reed and Orson Welles met a few days before filming started their friendship will last until 12 he’s Hollywood deaths in October 1985. and it was through Welsh Oliver was given the best piece of advice ever had if in doubt do nothing.

By the end of shooting Oliver had developed another more physical relationship with his co-star Carole White star of the BBC Television documentary style play Cathy come home about the homeless problem in 1966. However her role in this was seen as step down and it was in her company Oliver had his first encounter with drugs, beginning one drunken night with a joint and then slowly she spiked his drink with LSD. Which left Oliver with a psychedelic hangover and an angry determination never to repeat the experience. unfortunately Miss Carol White died of liver failure in Miami in September 1981 she was 48.

Oliver and Kate would follow an estimated set of rules and until his affair became the battleground, and then the best thing to do was to duck, coping with the press was still fun, but it wasn’t until June 1967 that Oliver’s presence attracted the attention of the local paper interview wrapped around a picture of him scowling and clutching a glass of beer it read more like a curriculum vitae and a than a profile of the actor.

One of the stage hits of the early 60s Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver for the film director Carol Reed and held special fascination and adaptation of Oliver Twist, After casting Mark Lester the title role Carol had problem of a quite different strike auditioning for the movie brutal villain Bill Sykes was his 28 year old nephew Oliver, it was the older Reed who was anxious about claims of nepotism, and it was only when ordered did Carol give in. The musical won six Oscars and overnight France pub Oliver Reed into international star also confirmed as one highest paid film actors but while it took his bank balance into the Millionaire bracket the film would bankrupt his marriage. As he began yet another affair.

It was while still working on Oliver was still on set of the musical but several offers arrived from the most prestigious and Sons biggest never made came once again for Michael Winner it was a part in multi million dollar project called William the Conqueror funded by Universal Pictures, but when studio found out how much Winner was asking they cancelled the whole thing.

But not long after this Winner sets up yet another project this one at true life story of a prisoner of war Mr Tom Wright who was captured in France after taking part in the D-Day landing and sent to Mustang camp near Munich throughout his captivity write a diary and after the war he used it as a basis for the Hannibal books an unpublished novel which describe what might have happened if he and the stas had a escape across the Alps to Switzerland. the trouble was that they need several elephants and winner recalls having photographs sent to him had to show the elephants and there enormous size the photographs were taken with children dressed as adults are most of the animals were too nervous to work with more than just their trainer. but eventually he came across an Indian elephant called Aida a 15 year looked after by a Dutch zoo who had appeared in several films and was being temporary house in Roman slaughterhouse. Oliver flew Austria and was introduced to his five ton coaster they formed and forged a bond during the free filming training sessions and when the Script call for Oliver 2 lead her through and under a hidden waterfall Aida did the scene without flinching even though it had be enhanced by winners instructions to be a raging torrent rather than small stream.

fate once again played it’s hand and when on June the 6th 1968 Michael Winner decided to abandon the day’s filming after the news about Robert Kennedy being assassinated at a rally in a Californian Hotel, it was lunchtime that day Oliver Reed informed Michael Winner that Ken Russell wanted him to star in the film adaptation of the DH Lawrence novel women in love. To which Winner told him ” I think Ken Russell is very talented my advice would be to do it… it will be good for your career.”

What I think – we have gone from Oliver Reed the bit part player to Oliver Reed the semi internationally famous character actor who’s personal life is beginning to show signs of of becoming coming he’s Achilles heel, which no a amount of good natured banter or wit can save him from and at this point good luck to him I say. His marriage is slipping quickly out of his fingers but that was never really want him a Kate wanted but at that time marriage was pushed on everyone the very second two people went out on a date. I just hope that there is no lasting damage to there son.
Do I feel sorry for the man no, you make you own choice in life and if you’re presented with two possible ways of doing a thing an easy way or I was slightly hard away but both paths take you to the same inevitable conclusion I know which one I would choose.
Oliver isn’t a bad man his what people would call a lovable rogue, and so far just damaged himself. The sadness of this chapter from the unfortunate Miss Carol White.

So that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering chapter nine of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week.

Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Seven

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

In the Previous in this blog -Thanks to a combination of a highly skilled make-up artist Anthony Nelson Keys and Oliver’s own talent he’s able to land the role in The Hammer horror film curse of the werewolf. And on 21 January 1961, Kate gave birth a boy they named Mark Thurloe Reed, a few other rolls followed most notable a role that would inspire the writing of A Clockwork Orange.

In late 1962 October morning winner had a phone call from Oliver who trying to get a short screenplay he had written into a film, all about two men living in a wardrobe on top of a hill it was too esoteric even for Winner but a low budget movie certainly couldn’t do his reputation any harm so he arranged an interview. This would be the start of a long running relationship between almost define Oliver’s work for the next two years. With the list of credits growing the curse of the werewolf, Captain Clegg, The Pirates of blood river, Paranoiac and The Party’s Over an official fan club was now being formed to deal with all his mail. And is Oliver still behaving like a single man.

Warning this entry contains several swear words

Chapter Seven I have made many serious statements – I just can’t remember any of them. I guess they mustn’t have been very important.

The crazy Elephant was a smart but dubious nightclub and with his 21st flim just out Oliver decided it was time smarten himself up and get noticed, but as he brushed past a table a jeering young man calls him Dracula, so he comes back with “Watch it or I’ll bite your jugular vein out” him and his friends had emptied their second bottle of champagne, when the guy from before turns up
” Did you mean what you said over there”
“Fuck off and play with yourself”
and in seconds a huge fight brakes out. Oliver tried to protect his face from the storm of blows, outside the club Oliver had hold together what remains of his face with one hand and began waving down taxis, He could still feel the shards of broken glass in his mouth and his tongue to swell painfully. The driver Andy Cohen wasn’t best pleased with all the blood on his seats. Oliver passes out twice on the way to St. George’s hospital and his jacket and trousers were covered in several pints to his own blood. After several hours and the careful work of the young nurses, he made it home covered in several bandages almost mimicking his hammer horror scenes, Kate took one look at him and announced “You stupid bastard”. Yet hi on the combination of alcohol, analgesic and painkillers Oliver still tried to make love to Kate who just pushed him away.

The glass had sliced through his cheek and shaded part of his tongue convinced if the stitches he had, saved his life did also ruin his acting career, and he began to believe that the attack was retribution for his drunken behaviour so began to walk around with a bodyguard. Michael Winner told him he may not play a conventional leading man but honestly it will have a bit of interest.

By the mid 1960s Oliver was now living on the world fringed by the criminal underworld and blurred by alcohol. His scars have healed but he’s punching manner attracted their own attention from both sides of the law. and it was not uncommon for Oliver and his circle of close friends to be offered the occasional stolen item which he would sell on for a profit. he even stepped out over the line teaching a local villain a lessened by beating him into semi consciousness, the attack did attracting Abbott police attention Oliver questioned but never charged. Face brush with the law did put the brakes on his criminal explodes but it did little to curb is disastrous plugs towards alcoholism.

Oliver any alcoholic gathering was a wonderful mingling of personalities building site labourers Petty criminals businessman want to be writers poets artists unemployed and the unemployable beautiful women strong men good talk all against the background of left and lies and the latest hit record on the radio.

In late 1965 Oliver me a thriller the shuttered room set on a isolated Island off new England the story it was adapted from a HP Lovecraft and August Derleth thriller, however within weeks Oliver and started a passionate affair with his co-star Carol Lynley, and in fact when invited to celebrate the new year with actor John and Nita Hogg it was Carol who he took with him.

During his time at Bray Oliver had died in in the Flames of burning Chapel, shot to death by a silver bullet and launch over cliff in a stolen car, after six films with hammer he decided it was time to move on. In 1965 he played his final death in the adventure called The Brigand Of Kandahar as Eli Khan being killed in a hand to hand combat, but it was the British film institution that delivered the fatal blow and in later years Oliver would readily admit it was the worst film he ever made for hammer.

Since the early 1950’s the British broadcasting Corporation BBC had established the television program Monitor as the most prestigious arts show, tackling difficult and esoteric themes. Ken Russell was recruited to produce a 45 minute programme it’s editor Hugh Weldon commission a trial film about Sir John Betjeman. Each weekend Russell and his family would watch jukebox jury at television show in which celebrities on the latest releases one particular weekend Russell saw the panel included a young actor called Oliver Reed and Oliver bore a striking resemblance to the young Claude Debussy.
the following Monday morning Russell telephone agent to arrange a meeting the next de Oliver shuffled into the office. Russell ask Oliver what he knew about Debussy and Oliver told him he didn’t know anything, So Russell thanked him for coming in, Oliver was concerned about scars from the fight but Russell didn’t seem that bothered. After leaving Oliver rang Winner to ask his advice, ‘Ken Russell was a director he should get close to’
The flim me and fellow monitor produce that melvyn Bragg had written intended to poke fun at discreet biographies all of which inform romanticised but left the act of creation unexamined, the unique way this would be achieved is the film would completely absurd circle with a fly on the wall documentary crew following television director as he struggled to complete a fly on the wall documentary film about the composer Oliver wood play both parts of Debussy and the actor who played him.
Russell decided to shoot some scene in Chalon-sur-Saone France but for some reason at the French customs at Calais had decided to in pounds decided to press office improvised by adapting their clothes scouring chemist shops on the way to Chalon. by the end of the week shooting Russell was pleased with what he had intended and the entire 10 Man crew went to lunch courtesy of the BBC, Yet it was only when the wine list arrived David he realised the corporation were very unlikely to sanction the expense of bottles of wine so while the rest of the crew the real Russell of Oliver flitcroft nearby and cheap red and white down their trouser leg and suede their way back to the restaurant each time a single bottle of house we went down it was surreptitiously topped up with the under the table reserve the empty was smuggled out past the waiters into the ladies toilets.

with his Debussy fille Oliver redecorated and recaps his house after an evening at the dog and fox the couple invited their friends back from impromptu Pat the next morning they woke to find a new Lounge carpet was so badly scuffed by the Revellers it looked as though someone had driven of a tractor across it. rightly or wrongly one of his friend Michael monks got the blame and was instantly elevated to Oliver’s gallery nicknames as tractors. nicknames to oliva were both a leveler and a ticket admission and a badge of brotherhood. what within six months Oliver was earning enough to think about moving home for the third time in as many years this time he could for the tire house not just parts of someone else’s yett it would be the last home he would share with Kate and his young son.

Ken Russell and Melvyn Bragg worked another film called Always on Sunday which Oliver provided the commentary for the system the film with with Michael Winner was released while Oliver was in France but the Debussy film was given to a new BBC programme called omnibus. it was during filming Dante’s Inferno Oliver and Russell’s III BBC project together that the director and actor began to appreciate each others demands and delivery.
Russell was beginning to distil Oliver’s performance into directive shorthand with each command moody 1,.moody 2 and Moody 3. Oliver was also making less cultured television Appearances, heat image of the St heavy was holding very good. In fact during the winter of 1964 and 1965 appeared in two series both of which were produced by Granada television, the first was Biggles with Neville Whiting as the admin Hero and singer and actor John Leyton as his sidekick ginger just after Christmas.a third part came along it’s dark outside a detective drama starring William Melvin and Keith Barron was shown. and finally in the new year there was a third acting job for Oliver this time in the BBC science fiction cum espionage thriller cold research centre number three.

What I think – Much like Oliver in this chapter it has ranged from the almost comical to the almost shocking and downright terrifying actions or a crazy person. we began with literally a bash and a crash with Oliver spilling blood and almost ending his acting career before it even began. living on the edge of Law and Order to make ends meet would be enough for any man to swear off alcohol but it only seemed to fuel Mr Reed’s determination to make something himself, at mostly whatever cost unfortunately it does look like his marriage however shot is going to be the first casualty of this. and like most things within Mr Reeves life once he has hold of them he has a tendency to let them slip through his fingers there is a phrase I keep coming back to hold on tightly let go lightly and this seems to colour quite a lot of Mr Reed’s exploits outside his burgeoning acting career playing a collection of heavies.
the question is do I feel sorry for him and the answer is no, match of alaves drive and determination is directed solely not in the pursuit of building a powerhouse in which two push forward but unfortunately to the only thing the people around him in certain quarters understand and that is violence. so when he comes in contact with somebody he can channel that energy and that power into we get they stand up performances both working with Ken Russell and earlier on with Michael Winner.

I have noticed that this chapter does say it marks the end of beginning of the end and I hope when the dust settles that he and Kate will remain friends and his son will not be poisoned or perceived to be poisoned by him or because of him.
So that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering more of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week

Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Six

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

In the Previous in this blog -Oliver has now left the army, and is using a combination of sex and lies to get himself few walk on part in films. making the grand sum of £14 and by the 1958 he’s been in four films. Yet he feels a need to talk with his uncle the director Carol Reed all he gets in the end is advice he’s already taking. He even meets his brother’s girlfriend and future wife who is left speechless when she first sees him Oliver’s inability to read properly in the end plays a big role in him getting a part on a children’s television show the golden spur playing Richard of Gloucester. He meets and marries Katie Byrne after she Forges her father’s signature on the marriage licence, But Oliver has a problem with keeping his income balanced with his outgoing so then has to rely on his maternal grandmother and eventually his father-in-law who doesn’t want to see his daughter thrown out homeless. In the end however he is taken on as a bit role player in the hammer horror series of films by the studio of the same name. All this happens as Kate becomes pregnant. And Oliver begins to form his famous drinking Club

Chapter Six ” everyday life is my favourite people are my favourite actors”

Anthony Nelson Keys has the task of find the team of specialists needed for each new hammer production the last letter of the afternoon was addressed to Roy Ashton, has learnt his make-up skill before the War as an apprentice with a Gaumont British Film Company. And by 1957 had 25 films under his belt Ashton was invited to work on Curse of the werewolf would be his 6th film with hammer in a little over two years. After doing his usual research in the Natural History Museum Ashton therefore came to the conclusion the only suitable actor for the role would be Oliver Reed because he’s powerful bone structure. But Ashton still hadn’t officially been given the job just yet, he rang Oliver who was very co-operative.

“He was very ambitious at the time and nothing was too much trouble, after all this film was his big chance and a professional artist goes I think he was marvellous”

The shooting started on 12 September, there were still a few days for Ashton to perfect his creation, more that anything it was the werewolf fangs that he was unhappy with, and with help of fellow Australian Phil Rasmussen they came up with a solution.

” he was attempting to make the werewolf fangs from taking impressions of real teeth it was an impossible task and I suggested he decide his own from scratch”

For Oliver the application of the werewolf makeup with a tedious and somewhat painful experience each money he will arrive at Bray by 7 and sit permantly for up right to 2 hours as Ashton and one of his assistants glued pieces of the monster mask onto the actors face laying here over joints of his own skin Oliver’s on-screen transformation into the werewolf cause problems this time for the director and the camera Crews Ashton came up with a solution for this as well he suggested The Wolfman transformation was only shown using the hands to do this they would lock off a camera in set position for each shop and use stop-motion photography and plaster casts of Oliver and the whole thing would roughly take two hours.

Oliver’s work on werewolf officially terminated on the 2nd of November and the end around £1,000 for 8 weeks work, bedsit years he would remember the Promotion as his first real test as an actor

“as an extra an actor gets his first half of doesn’t films for free you’re basically paying yourself in a variety of different surroundings and then the present moment captures spoke with you and you and you have to use your imagination to create a character that’s when your real acting starts.

For devoted hammer fans the film ranks as one Bray Studios best efforts at its best ernest attempt to understand and interpret Iberian folklore, sometimes a little too closely. However verdicts on the film remain unanimously bleak, but for Oliver there was a Glimmer of hope one lone critic described his performance as mesmerising.

On 21 January 1961, Kate gave birth a boy they named Mark Thurloe Reed, guessing Oliver’s profession was almost impossible already a hammer leading man he found that were few benefits if any, and enquiries about his latest film or contract were ignored or swept politely aside names would never dropped work was work and play was play. Michael Monks Oliver’s stage manager friend with an acting ambition of his own always amazed how his friend found time to prepare for part.

Not once did I see him with a script in his hand not once did he say he couldn’t come out because he was learning his lines or rehearsing.

Yet Oliver was working you may have moved from stealing from Kate’s purse are begging money from his aunt to pay for his afternoons at the cinema. he would invest his money in every public and saloon bar he visited calling every pint he bought an investment providing he could make his drink last the day he would have a whole days lesson from the best teacher on earth the genuine original if a partner man need a rough loudmouth navvy. he would traveller working men’s club until he found a character to fit watching every mannerism every flattering action every slurred and mumbled expression, and the same would go for the upper class artists he would watch in the London and drinking clubs.

By the end of 1961 cinema audiences as a hammer horror body his roll this time was Brocaire brief yet competent, and for the Damned based on hell HL Laurence novel the children of light Oliver swapped his fur and fangs for a tweed jacket and black tie his performance in this flim would also inspire one of the seminal novels of the 1960s when it’s pretty violent scenes and redistion in latest social neurosis. Anthony Burgess would later admit it was Oliver Reed’s performance of King the leader of a a predatory teenage gang that inspired him to write a Clockwork Orange, the novel was later adapted for the cinema and in response to a spate of attacks copycat in the scenes from the film it’s director Stanley Kubrick took the unique step in 1973 of adding a lifetime ban on it screenings it was finally released in the United Kingdom again on the 17th of March 2000 after Stanley Kubrick death the previous year.

the fame and fortune had failed to materialize for Oliver but a least he could have for a new home for his wife and 18 months year old son and in the charts between the 1950s and 1960s and you type of actor was a virgin two interest British film directors the fake elegant officer gentleman whose trademark was tapping have a cigarette on a monogram case was being replaced by the Rough Trade brush and physical young men who’s personal independence and drunkenness wait and constantly shooting a mouse off were more in tune with the public and were about to enter the picture.
one such part he portrayed an ugly was for the popular television show the Saint Adventures starring Roger Moore and adaptation from the Leslie Charteris novels, The episode was called The King of Beggars filmed at Elstree studios on the back lot with mockups of Italian streets and houses, John Oliver for his safe babe you were the following actors and future stars Ronnie Corbett and Warren Mitchell. So enthusiastic was he at one point Oliver’s method acting cost him to fall backwards into the scenery and not himself unconscious.

Michael Winner was a director with a passion for gold jewellery he said he could smell Talent before it was into his London and it was a man to keep his promises, and it was one 1962 October morning winner had a phone call from Oliver who trying to get a short screenplay he had written into a film, all about two men living in a wardrobe on top of a hill it was too esoteric even for Winner but a low budget movie certainly couldn’t do his reputation any harm so he arranged an interview.

Winner and Oliver talk for more than an hour according to win it Oliver came across as a very shy sensitive young man full of ideas about how he thought he should be shot and what the message should be sleeping through the script and Reading line-up we decided against the project what he didn’t tell Oliver all he was really interested in was trying to find him the right film. it took almost 2 years for this to happen the script was West Eleven an adaptation of the Laura de Rivo novel The furnished room in which a rootless drifter is offered £10,000 to commit murder winner wanted Oliver and the actress Julie Christie star but the decision was taken out of his hand as Christie and Oliver were both too inexperienced.

And in 1963 winner approach them both again this time with parts in his latest project the system unfortunately Julie Christie was busy filming Billy Liar so her part was taken by Julia Foster, impressed by winners loyalty the cast of other blooming Talent including David Hemmings, Derek Nimmo John Alderton and Harry Andrews. The flim set in the British sea side was a seafront photographer who leads a group of young men into a system which shares out the pretty women who come on holiday. Oliver’s role was that of the photographer. who falls in love with a classic model played by Julie Merrow and Unites his passion and Talent to become a London photographer . When arriving on set one day there are directive found Oliver being received by a group of young women they were in fat members of the Oliver Reed fan club although married with a young son Oliver exploited his good looks and sexual appeal and made no excuse for his rather obvious casual affairs.

On the first day of shooting Oliver discovered the flamboyant winners presents to be as intimidating as his ego, enthused with Cecil b demille megalomaniia microphone winner would insist on issuing all his on set instructions through a megaphone no matter how close he was standing to the recipient this whimsical sense of humour also indeed him to his latest Star. however once again the BFI critic found the stars performance lacking
“Oliver Reed is badly cast as Tinker in this very class conscious film accent places in firmly in the U theory while Script put him several pegs lower this plays havoc with the action and we can never really believed in let alone feel sympathy for this rather unattractive Don Juan of the beaches”

Edited and reissues two years later in 1966, as The Girl Gets the film not only established Oliver Reed is an actor capable of representing the dreams and delusions of his generation, but it also fixed him as one of the pre pop icons. Many for the studio press releases mentioned his Marriage or his young son preferring to exploit his image as new brooding teenage idol

With the list of credits growing the curse of the werewolf, Captain Clegg, The Pirates of blood river, Paranoiac and The Party’s Over an official fan club was now being formed to deal with all his mail.

Early November 1964 Oliver invited his friend David Mumford the former Royal Army Medical Corps sergeant to an event the opening of a bowling alley with the star Kathy Kirby unfortunately Mumford informed Oliver he could not drink as he had a show to perform so Oliver had him right down his address on a piece of paper and passed it to the barman and informed him to delivery a create whiskey to his friend on him.

What I think – I guess that on the one hand we have Oliver the successful Rising movie star with several credit to his name and we now have the total opposite we have Oliver Reed the gentleman not trying very hard to keep well call it within married lines. I’m not taking sides, but the studio did have quite a big influence in how the public would perceive him and Oliver obviously did not want to let his public down so to speak. As for Oliver’s professionalism does seem to be quite a high priority you spent quite a lot of time working with the makeup artists on his first film and almost goes out of his way to make sure he has some form of working relationship with people he doesn’t even really know. The question becomes then how far and how long will the professionalism and stardom last for and how long is that will his marriage last.

So that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering more of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week.

Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Five. (Part One)

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

In the Previous in this blog – We stand shoulder to shoulder with Oliver as he begins his national service only to find out he officially does not exist, and as he fill in the rest of his birth certificate. Being turned down but Officer Training due to his Dyslexia being unable to write in a coherent fashion. So he takes another path and goes to Hong Kong where he becomes a NCO non commissioned officer, regaling the camp and his men with ghost stories and impromptu concert parties which the men thoroughly enjoyed. Which gave Oliver the tastes and the drive to become an actor But years later Oliver himself believed the men didn’t really like him. Yet may of the men would contradict him. And when he’s national service comes to an end Oliver comes home to civvy Street only to find out the brand new suits you got Taylor Made or several years in fact decades out of date.

Chapter Five – ” I’ve got face like a dustbin, but people are learning that if you kick a dustbin over and rhododendrons drop out, it’s glorious”

Back in London, after two years left Oliver with less than £100 in savings a nice tan, a taste for alcohol and six dated suits. But the capital city was a wash with what a be actors and actresses. So after after living with his Grandmother Dardin he moves to a flat in Redcliffe Square with another would be actor Jack Burke. an Irishman man who had won a prewar Jaguar in a poker game but could never earn enough money for any petrol, but was very impressed with Oliver’s brief appearance in Value For Money.

Without an agent and one film under his belt Oliver needed 3 things to find work experience luck and a membership card to the film artist Association the extras trade union, He was able to get the card like most things from guy in a pub another actor Ned Lynch, the others he would get by a combination of sex and lies. Knowing that it wasn’t the directors or the casting agencies he needed to impress but their secretaries, so he when on a charm offensive often going on dates and fish and chip suppers with them, and getting them slip his resume and photo into the pile.

One such lady was Cherry Dearing who after two dates added his photography the extras file in Regal Films

I agreed to go out with him because he was incredibly good looking and had this amazingly seductive voice. When he spoke he looked at you as if were the only person in the room”

Called for an audition at Twickenham Studios he told the director Sidney Smith he had recently returned from touring South Africa with a repertory company. Smith however remembered he was more impressed by Oliver “hungry face” and was given part of a Journalist so he calls his father the ask to lend his journalist’s Mac which is better that one the wardrobe department were giving him. But it would another three year before they could face being in the same room.

Hello London started Sonja Henie and Michael Wilding the plot involved a flying visit to London where Sonja a real ice-skater is persuaded to gave a charity performance. The supporting cast a clutch of British actors guest stars Stanley Holloway, Dennis Price Roy Castle and Dora Bryan. Oliver’s job was to join the gaggle of photographers sent to cover the stars arrival. He elbowed his way to the front of the press pack doing everything to get noticed, but was asked to change his clothes as he was still wearing one of his Hong Kong suits.

Making the grand sum £14, By the end 1958 the system held and he had beded his way on to four more flims.

The Square Peg one of the many from the Norman Wisdom series

Life is A Circus a comedy staring the Crazy Gang.

The Captain’s Table a second comedy staring John Gregson

But when it came to his forth The Four Just Men a cinema spin off from the popular television show, his walk on part was bumped up to a speaking role when he was recognized by the assistant director and because the actor was taken ill, Oliver was given his first eleven words on screen. The work may have been enjoyable and regular but it was never self supporting including, the £12 he received for his impromptu speaking part in his last film Oliver had so far and just £56 from his acting in Berlin covered his £6 week rent on his West Bromwich rooms and never left enough to scratch away at the arrears. So having feed his last shilling into the gas meter to light the fire he conceded to visit his Uncle Carol.

Two years early in 1956 Carol Reed was about to direct the circus drama trapeze when Oliver asks to be taken on as an extra and his uncle had refused. But he told Oliver to join the Royal Academy of Dramatic art and if not he should at least join a repertory company. But Oliver’s refused citing the fact he didn’t give a damn about the theatre films were where he wanted to be. Both men were conscious of and determined to avoid any suggestion of nepotism yet the older Reed remained convinced that meeting the right people in the right place was a good launch of an acting career and suggested that every morning Oliver should make his way and find people that could help you and pitch your tent outside the front doors and every morning say excuse me I’m Oliver Reed and I would like you to give me a job, as Oliver was leaving Carol offered the final suggestion of the afternoon to spend as much time as possible at the cinema if you think a film is bad watch it over and over again until you are convinced you know why it is bad the same with a good film only when you are convinced you know the reason the flim is good should you try to emulate those finished performances. His uncle advice only confirmed what Oliver had already decided.

In the late 1950s a cinema programme included a full length feature film a short called The b movie, pathe news real and a pearl and Dean adverts which run in sequence from early afternoon to late evening so just for the price of sixpence Oliver bought himself a place at the University of cinema.

His mother had by now read married into what Oliver disrespected the called the quack quack Society, The Sulises family had made it’s fortune by supplying rope and hawsers to every port and shipping company in Britain and they now lived in an impressive mansion in the Cheshire countryside. it was now three months since Oliver had appeared in a film. Once back in London he discovered he had some unexpected competition, David Reed whose national service was spent as an officer with the royal Military Police was now out of work and hoping to launch his own acting career. The pair would make the rounds of the Casting officers and advertising agencies each handing out glossy photographs and attempting to make contacts with little success.

Opposite Chelsea Football Club Stamford Bridge ground on the Fulham Road was it coffee bar the drinks with cheap and the dubious but friendly Italian owner appreciated the value of serving the stars of the future his favourite quote would be

“When you are famous I am famous I put up sign saying you eat here”

and it was here David Reed informed his girlfriend and future wife she was about meet his brother nothing prepared her for the ‘thing’ that walked though the coffee bar door. Mickie Reed later said she will always remember her first sight of Oliver.

oliver was wearing a school hanging from a chain around his neck, a white shirt tied in a knot above his bare waist and the tightest jeans you have ever seen in your life”

Oliver’s inability to read properly played a big part in his next audition as the next week’s found him scouring the stage where he spotted on the bottom page of an advertisement for a new children’s television series pressing his best Hong Kong suit and went to the address only to be told by the smug receptionist he had come to the wrong place, and by the time he got to the right address half the cast had been auditioned and the other half were queuing in the corridor but as he stood there a female producer handed him script page and with her reading the other lines Oliver acted on his own. Inside the producers office Oliver reads his part and even with the Producers as close he gets the part of Richard of Gloucester in the children’s programme the golden spur. It was impressive enough to attract the attention of an agent and the guaranteed wage of £5 a week.

Unfortunately I’m going to have to stop here for this week there seven pages left in this chapter. And even skimming over them giving a barebones idea of what happens in Oliver’s life next it will it even longer and this blog post is now and I don’t want to swap everybody in one sitting so I’m going to call this chapter blog to close.

so I hope you can join me for the rest of that chapter and until then see you next week.

Once In A Lifetime – Autobiographies and Biographies – Evil spirits – The life of Oliver Reed – Chapter Four

In May 1999, after a 40 year career including 100 films Oliver Reed died as he had invariably lived, Drinking With Friends while making another film is well received performance in the Blockbuster gladiator and having Risen through hammer horror films to international starred up as Bill Sikes in Oliver Reed became in his own words the biggest star this country has got With his legendary off screen exploits and blue opinions especially of his co-stars he was one of the most infamous.

All quotes belong to Oliver Reed or others, and copyright belongs to Cliff Goodwin.

In the Previous in this blog -We rejoined Oliver as he started his education at which point we find out that no thanks to his father, it becomes extremely apparent that Oliver has no real academic skills and in fact would be classed as dyslexic today. And just when Oliver is able to show his father that is capable of physical strength by winning every single event in the academic sports day, his father calls him an animal which gives Oliver complex. In the end they row and Oliver leaves not seeing or talking to him for the next five years. So at age 18 after a set dead end jobs reports for his national service.

Chapter Four – It took me a while to discover the wisdom of the old Army adage “If you can’t beat the bastards, join em”

Not long after his arrival at Church Crookham barracks Oliver discovered is paperwork was surprisingly inaccurate that his forenames had never been officially added. So on the 26 September Robert Oliver officially become real. and joined B Company spending ten weeks basic training from there the intake was divided into 25 man squads and eight weeks more attached to D E and F. But during the first week of basic training over He was ordered to report to personal his request to follow his brother David into the Royal Military Police was ignored but his public school qualified him for a commission and had rubber stamped application.

But at the end of the final day he was asked to write an essay on ‘the role of the modern army’ but the results was a scribbled and disjointed muddle his arguments were sound but his handwriting and vocabulary was that of thirteen year old so the army turned him down. Oliver then took it on himself to climb the ladder himself or at least a high he could in two years. And after four weeks on a potential depot staff course he was given his first stripe and promoted to lance corporal, By January he had been made up to full corporal and attached permanently to D Company thanks to standing in for a NCO.

Oliver’s friend at this time was Barry Balmayne who not only witnessed Oliver down his first ever pint of beer but Oliver’s stage debut playing Mexican Pete the Mexican Peddler when he organised at graduation concert party for his squad not only organising but producing it too. But following a few minor indiscretion that would have cost another corporal his stripes changing the numbers on race horse course and being late for many Patrol and inspection, He’s informed you might like to apply for posting to a Field Ambulance unit was in need corporal.

So off to Hong Kong he goes on board the HMS Oxfordshire and like every other vessels bound for the Far East it was forced to make the thirty five day passage around the Cape of Good Hope, on docking, clutching their shore leave passes the entire draft poured on the street of Hong Kong intent on consuming as much beer as possible and spending their back pay in as many brothels as their stamina allows, Oliver spent the afternoon drinking Tiger beer with a group of Scottish soldiers, The only privates and NCO’s allowed into the Wanchai district were Red Caps guided by his Scottish companions Oliver was beginning to regert his drunken boast, Pleading poverty Oliver opted for 1s 3d worth of relief but was so frightened he unable to perform much to the disgust of the octogenarian woman before waddling off leaving Oliver to pull up his trousers.

The day after the Oxfordshire arrived in Hong Kong Oliver was informed he was being posted to 18th Field Ambulance at Taipo, by the summer the 18th transferred to the former Royal Air Force base near the village of Sek-Kong. Bernard Davis One member’s of Oliver’s hut 34 squad remembers that

“he was fairly shy and certainly wasn’t much of a drinker”

Returning to the billet Oliver would frequently treat Davis and his follows privates to an impromptu concert party, his other bedtime entertainment was making up and acting out a series of spine chilling ghost stories

He was so good, some of the young lads used to pull their sheets over their heads, If he could have written them down he would have earned a fortune.”

Yet years later while dictating his autobiography Oliver believed that as an NCO he was ostracized and snubbed by his squad. Not wanting to be a hospital porter or a labourer when he got back to civvie street Oliver though his best option would be to marry a rich girl he would need a wardrobe to match after ripping a feature on men fashion from Tatler magazine he headed to Hong Kong intending to empty his post Office Savings book and investing in half a dozen new suits the tailor nodded approvingly each time I love her pointed out each photograph on promised copies of each of the outfits two days later with 6 suits folded and wrapped in paper they were ready his whole new wardrobe had just cost under £60 the equivalent of 8 weeks pay. But back in England he wondered why people were giving strange looks he knew the magazines were two years out date but when the suits were brand new and immaculately tailored it was only when he re read the pages he discovered the feature was about men’s clothes from the 1930s.

What I think – It a surprise want people think, here we have a group of people each who see the same thing in totally different ways, two men under Oliver’s guidance give the impression that he was a very affable man and even went out of his way be friends with everyone but when Oliver tells his side of the story the men did like him very much or understand him very much, which all adds to the mans life story.

Oliver here is starting to lay down the ground work to become a happy farmer it may be a small thing the ghost stories and the concert party he performs the men billeted with him but it does lay the foundations, of him trying to better himself by buying a few new suits even if they are no longer in style which I guessing will help later down the years. And I guess that’s the point of the Chapter really Oliver is ever so slightly out of kilter with each group he tries to join in with first the fact you can’t become an officer thanks to his dyslexic spellings in the written exam and the unfortunate mishap at the beginning of his life in Hong Kong (just a side note here I did actually clean that up slightly there are a few swear words I didn’t put in)

How is will affect you once again when he joins civvie street again is anyone’s guess and quest to marry into money does seem more than a little short sighted to me but it will be some what fun finding out,

So that’s your lot for this week and in the next blog we will be covering chapter five of Mr Reed’s life, as always if you have done thank you for reading and whoever you are whether you be I hope you can join me next week.