According to director Ken Russell, the original script for Women in Love (1969) did not include the famous nude wrestling scene because he felt it wouldn't pass the censors and would be difficult to shoot. It wasn't until Reed talked him into it by literally throwing his weight around--he wrestled Russell in his kitchen, pinned him down, and wouldn't let him up unless he agreed to shoot it.
Agreed to appear in the small but vital role of casino boss Eddie Mars in The Big Sleep (1978) just because he admired the film's star Robert Mitchum so much.
Along with Michael Winner, former snooker champion Alex Higgins, himself suffering from throat cancer, were the only celebrities to attend Reed's funeral in Ireland.
At age 22, Reed was paid £90 per week for his first starring role in The Curse of the Werewolf (1961). But the film would not be seen in Spain for many years. It was banned because it was thought the film portrayed Spain as a backward nation.
Bought Broome Hall, a 63-bedroom Victorian mansion in Surrey, in 1970.
By the mid-1970s he was considered by many to be Britain's biggest movie star. He declined roles in The Sting (1973) and Jaws (1975) because he didn't want to relocate to Los Angeles. Both of these roles were taken by fellow British hellraiser Robert Shaw. However, a Hollywood executive claimed, "Reed didn't turn us down. We turned him down. We like our stars to have respect - Oliver Reed didn't respect anyone and he showed it."
Described his role as Father Grandier in Ken Russell's The Devils (1971) as the best performance he ever gave.
During the Falklands War in 1982, the highly patriotic Reed covered his house in a huge Union Jack flag and decorated every room with military memorabilia.
Father of Mark Reed, with his first wife Kate Byrne and of Sarah Reed, with his partner, the dancer Jacqueline Daryl.
For a brief period in the late 1960s Reed was the highest paid actor in Europe, but by the 1980s he was reduced to starring in dire European films.
Grandson of actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who founded the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1904.
Had a tattoo on his penis. According to Patrick Warburton, Reed showed him the tattoo the first day they worked together.
Had an intense dislike for Jack Nicholson, whom he called "a balding midget" (Nicholson is only 5'7").
He died of a heart attack in a bar after downing three bottles of Captain Morgan's Jamaica rum, eight bottles of German beer, numerous doubles of Famous Grouse whiskey and Hennessy cognac, and beating five much younger Royal Navy sailors at arm-wrestling. His bar bill for that final lunch time totaled 270 Maltese lira, almost £450.
He enjoyed playing golf and bowls.
He had two brothers. David Reed became his business manager and his half-brother Simon Reed became his press agent.
He loved horses all his life and also enjoyed breeding and rearing them.