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Also Known As: Robert Oliver Reed Died: May 2, 1999
Born: February 13, 1938 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Wimbledon, England, GB Profession: actor, fairground boxer, hospital orderly, club bouncer, taxi driver

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A versatile performer who made his living playing ruthless villains, actor Oliver Reed also developed a reputation as one of the bad boys of British cinema. In the 1960s and 1970s, he - along with pals Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole - notoriously raised hell while drinking themselves into oblivion, leaving behind a long line of battered hotel rooms and broken bones, courtesy of numerous bar fights. With no formal training to speak of, Reed burst onto the scene with "The Curse of the Werewolf" (1961) and delivered a memorable performance as the evil Bill Sykes in the Oscar-winning musical "Oliver!" (1968). He was delightful as the amoral head of "The Assassination Bureau" (1969), and was at his swashbuckling best as Athos in "The Three Musketeers" (1973) and its sequel "The Four Musketeers" (1974). From there, Reed embarked on a series of misbegotten films like "The Big Sleep" (1978), "The Sting II" (1983) and "Castaway" (1986), none of which added any value to his career. Reed had a bit of fun as the evil Vulcan in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1988) and Billy Bones in "Treasure Island" (TNT, 1990), only to once again make several rather forgettable pictures. But Reed began...

A versatile performer who made his living playing ruthless villains, actor Oliver Reed also developed a reputation as one of the bad boys of British cinema. In the 1960s and 1970s, he - along with pals Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole - notoriously raised hell while drinking themselves into oblivion, leaving behind a long line of battered hotel rooms and broken bones, courtesy of numerous bar fights. With no formal training to speak of, Reed burst onto the scene with "The Curse of the Werewolf" (1961) and delivered a memorable performance as the evil Bill Sykes in the Oscar-winning musical "Oliver!" (1968). He was delightful as the amoral head of "The Assassination Bureau" (1969), and was at his swashbuckling best as Athos in "The Three Musketeers" (1973) and its sequel "The Four Musketeers" (1974). From there, Reed embarked on a series of misbegotten films like "The Big Sleep" (1978), "The Sting II" (1983) and "Castaway" (1986), none of which added any value to his career. Reed had a bit of fun as the evil Vulcan in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1988) and Billy Bones in "Treasure Island" (TNT, 1990), only to once again make several rather forgettable pictures. But Reed began reviving himself once more late in his career, only to suffer a fatal heart attack in the midst of production on the Oscar-winning "Gladiator" (2000), leaving behind a long career that to critics and fans seemed unworthy of the actor's considerable gifts.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Gladiator (2000) Proximo
2.
 Marco Polo (2000)
3.
 Jeremiah (2000) General Shapan
4.
 Parting Shots (1998) Jamie Campbell Stewart
5.
 Bruce, The (1996)
7.
 Funny Bones (1995) Dolly Hopkins
8.
 Severed Ties (1992) Dr Hans Vaughan
9.
 Hired to Kill (1991) Michael Bartos
10.
 Prisoner of Honor (1991) General Boisdeffre
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Served as Royal Army Medical Corpsman
:
First big break, terrifying children, in the BBC's kids series "The Golden Spur"
1961:
First starring role, "The Curse of the Werewolf"
1963:
Played a sadistic and lecherous motorcycle gang leader in Joseph Losey's "The Damned" (released in the USA as "These Are the Damned" in 1965)
1966:
Starred with Michael Crawford as upper class brothers putting everyone on and pulling off the perfect caper in Michael Winner's "The Jokers"
1967:
Reteamed with Winner for "I'll Never Forget What's 'Is Name"
1967:
Acted for director Ken Russell in "Dante's Inferno" episode of BBC series "Omnibus"
1968:
Played title role in third film with Winner, "Hannibal Brooks"
1968:
Delivered a memorable turn as Bill Sykes in Carol Reed's Oscar-winning musical "Oliver!"
1969:
Portrayed Gerald Crich in Ken Russell's adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's "Women in Love"
1971:
Reteamed with Russell for "The Devils"
1973:
First of four movies with Richard Lester, "The Three Musketeers", playing Athos
1975:
Third feature with Russell, the Who's "Tommy", playing Frank Hobbs
1975:
Portrayed a comic swashbuckler in Lester's "The Royal Flash"
1975:
Reprised role of Athos for Lester's "The Four Musketeers"
1978:
Fourth film with Winner, the noir remake of "The Big Sleep"
1979:
Played Dr Hal Raglan in David Cronenberg's "The Brood"
1980:
Acted the title roles of perverse comedy "Dr Heckyl and Mr Hype"
1985:
Appeared as Martin Pinzon in CBS miniseries "Christopher Columbus"
1989:
Presided over underworld domain as Vulcan in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen"
1990:
Acted the part of Captain Billy Bones in Fraser C Heston's directorial debut, "Treasure Island" (TNT); Heston's father Charlton starred as Long John Silver
1991:
Yet another turn for director Ken Russell, this time in the HBO movie "Prisoner of Honor"
1993:
Last intallment of Lester's "Musketeer" series, "The Return of the Musketeers", went straight to video
1993:
Played Gregor Dunnegan in CBS miniseries "Return to Lonesome Dove"
1995:
Portrayed Dolly Hopkins in "Funny Bones"
1997:
Wrapped three movies: "Marco Polo" with Jack Palance and Christopher Lee; his fifth feature with Michael Winner, "Parting Shots" (cast included Diana Rigg, Ben Kingsley and Bob Hoskins); and Menahem Golan's "Louisa and Jackpot"
2000:
Final film, "Gladiator"; had just about completed filming at time of death
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Reed was an honorary Musketeer of France.

"I'm not a villain, I've never hurt anyone. I'm just a tawdry character who explodes now and again." --Oliver Reed

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Katherine Byrne. Model. Married in 1960; divorced in 1970; mother of Mark Reed.
companion:
Jacquie Daryl. Dancer. Ballerina; had 12-year relationship; mother of Sarah Reed.
wife:
Josephine Burge. Married in 1985; born c. 1964; had been together since she was 16 years old.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Peter Reed. Journalist.
mother:
Marcia Reed.
uncle:
Carol Reed. Director. Perhaps best remembered for "The Third Man" (1949); cast Reed in the Oscar-winning film "Oliver!".
brother:
Simon Reed.
son:
Mark Thurloe Reed. Mother, Katherine Byrne.
daughter:
Sarah Reed. Mother, Jacquie Daryl.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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