Saturday, July 6, 2013

The vilest man in showbiz: Oliver Reed

by Tony Rennell

The boyishly handsome actor David Hemmings was up for a giggle on the set of his first major film in 1963, and his fellow star, the macho Oliver Reed, dared him to hang upside down outside the second-floor window of the hotel they were staying in, promising he’d hold on to him and not let him fall. The 21-year-old Hemmings stupidly agreed.

As he hung there, staring down on a vicious set of spiked railings 60ft below, he heard the dark and dangerous Reed growl threateningly from above, ‘How do you like this, boy?’ followed by a mocking: ‘Wanna come up, boy?’

The terrified Hemmings asked to be hauled back in — and was. But for the rest of his life he admitted to being wary of Reed.

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