Although none of us ever know the exact time and date when our lives will come to an end, it was an especially unlikely wager that Oliver Reed made when he predicted that he would kick the bucket in a bar after having one too many brewskies. That was precisely how the actor stated that he wanted to go when he predicted his demise in a televised interview for The Obituary Show in 1994.
Speaking of his eventual death in the past tense, Reed said that he died in a bar of a heart attack while laughing about something particularly amusing.
He claimed that he would meet his maker during a cabbage contest. Although he predicted that he would be especially confident that he was going to win the vegetable competition, somebody would make a bet with him that would be so lewd that he’d have no choice but to take it on. After his competitor would shake his hand, sealing the bet, he would laugh so hard that he would die.
While that’s not exactly how he died, it was close enough that when he did reach his final curtain call, it did raise quite a few eyebrows. Keep watching to learn all of the grim, morbid details.
Oliver Reed Accurately Predicted His Death – At Least Partially
Born in 1938, Oliver Reed lived the kind of life you would think only actually happened in movies – as a star who spent his best years drinking, fighting, and having an all-around good time – and that’s definitely how he left this world as well. He may have always desired to go down in a fiery blaze of glory, but in the end, he gave up the ghost while drunk as a skunk having the time of his life.
Reed did in fact die in a bar in Valletta, Malta during the filming of Ridley Scott’s film Gladiator on May 2nd, 1999. Although he did die as he predicted while knocking back libations, the myths of that ill-fated day have twisted one small fact about Reed during his final screen role – but we’ll get to that in a moment.
And even though Reed was known to be a heavy drinker for the majority of his adult life, British Actor Omid Djalili revealed that Reed hadn’t had a drink for months before filming commenced on that film.
While everyone said that Reed died precisely the way that he wanted to, Omid says that wasn’t exactly the case. Reed’s death was tragic. Apparently, he was in an Irish bar and was pressured into taking part in a drinking competition. He should have left when he had the opportunity but he didn’t. and the results speak for themselves.
The rumors of what and how much Reed drank that day vary quite a bit. All that we know is that Reed’s demise was a great loss to the entertainment industry as well as all of his fans. Because, if Reed is remembered for anything, it’s that he entertained us for more than four decades.
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Reed Was About To Stage His Long-Awaited Comeback
Gladiator would have been his big comeback film. His career had sadly been on the decline during the 90s due to a handful of movies that fared poorly at the box office as well as a few intoxicated appearances on TV that didn’t exactly depict him in the best light.
Reed never regretted his wild talk show escapades. Rather, he claimed that he was an entertainer and that meant that the audience always expected him to be bad.
Reed’s biggest role models in life were the fighter pilots that he had met as a child during World War II. Many of these men had been his mother’s lovers. Reed’s job was to mix their drinks at the cocktail parties that his mom would organize. At each of these little shin-digs, the number of pilots in attendance would decline as they killed in active duty. Reed never forgot the cavalier way that they would laugh, drink and enjoy life without worrying about their hastily approaching deaths or injuries. That’s what a true hero looked like to Reed.
Reed desperately wanted to be brave as they were. He felt like perhaps acting was just a fraud compared to those who fought in real battles. How could he ever compare to those that put their lives on the line to win wars and defend their homeland? Military men worked hard every single day of their lives to just bring home a modest income to support their families. Acting was just pretend. Real-life, on the other hand, was out there somewhere – usually in a bar – waiting for him to find it.
The Obituary Show was a novel – albeit macabre – take on the traditional talk show. It featured a wide variety of celebrities in ethereal surroundings discussing their lives as if they were looking down from heaven. The guests weighed in about their lives while answering questions about their regrets, personal failings, and career successes.
Although Reed was terrified of not dying heroically, he didn’t reveal some extremely “serious” regrets that he harbored while on that program. He admitted to such atrocities as not making love to every woman, not having kissed the nose of every dog, and not visiting every bar on the planet.
Although he didn’t accomplish all of those unfeasible feats, Reed insisted that he was a hell-raiser. He shared that if someone punched him in the nose, then he would punch them right back. And if someone bought him a drink, he’d buy them one back.
Reed humorously mentioned during that interview that he intended to leave an inscription on his gravestone that would inform the mournful reader that he ‘made the air move’.
The most moving admission that he made during that appearance on The Obituary Show was when he discussed the events that he suspected would transpire after his death. He shared that the only thing that he would regret about his funeral was that he wouldn’t be able to attend his own wake because he was sure that it was going to be a fantastic party.
It was a beautiful yet sad moment that revealed just how truly sensitive and shy of a man Reed was. Reed left behind $15,000 for his family and friends to celebrate his life after his passing. So, he was obviously not that bad of a guy after all.
Oliver Reeds Last Drink In Malta
The pub where Reed died in Malta, has been run by the Cremona family for over two decades. Oliver Reed had his last pint of ale there in 1999. He was 61 when he died after a heavy drinking session.
On his last night here on this spinning blue ball, Oliver Reed is rumored to have downed over eight pints of lager, twelve double-shots of rum, and half a liter of whiskey. He also is said to have won an arm-wrestling contest against several members of the British Royal Navy Crew from the HMS Cumberland and insisted on paying for their entire round of drinks.
Heavily inebriated, Reed collapsed, and before an ambulance could get to him he sadly passed away. From that day on, ‘The Pub’ has been an unofficial shrine for Reed and a place where devoted fans, film buffs, and curious drinkers alike can convene to pay their respects to the star.
Oliver Reed was a phenomenal actor who appeared in hit films like Women in Love, Three Musketeers, Oliver!, and Castaway. While successful, he was also a deeply troubled man who fought a long-running battle with alcoholism. But despite his many demons, he was also an immensely lovable character known for being one of the last, great Hollywood hell-raisers.
Toasts for the fallen entertainer ring out most evenings in The Pub and you can just picture him sitting there with that cocky grin on his face, raising his glass to acknowledge all the tributes. If there is an after-life, you can only imagine how much of a kick he gets out of all that kind of thing.
In honor of Reed, The Pub has added the phrase ‘Ollie’s Last Pub’ to their sign and now sells Oliver Reed keepsakes including such items as candles, plates, mugs, T-shirts, and bookmarks that feature his image and the phrase ‘Ollie’s Last Pub’.
Finishing Up Gladiator Without Him
After Reed’s sudden death, Gladiator director Ridley Scott was at a bit of a loss. He still had scenes left to shoot with Reed’s character, Proximo in them.
What they ended up doing was actually quite remarkable – as well as a bit creepy. The special effects company that was working on the film, The Mill, helped bring Reed back from the dead only to have him killed again. Scott filmed Proximo’s last scenes in the cover of darkness and behind the bars of a massive gate as Russel Crowe’s lead character comes to Proximo for help, only for him to be slain by Roman soldiers. A body double was used to act out these scenes.
The Mill used CGI to add Reed’s face to the body double in the scenes where his face was visible. Then, the body double was filmed from behind when Proximo is murdered by the soldiers. Reed’s face from beyond the grave appeared on-screen for about 2 minutes and cost an estimated $3.2 million to pull off the effect.
It’s remarkable that films can accomplish things like that, but that being said if you watch the scene knowing how it was made, it’s pretty obvious what was going on.
So yeah, the moral of the story, don’t agree to drinking competitions with random soldiers in Malta when you’re in the middle of filming a major blockbuster movie. Although, it’s easy to say that in retrospect, we’re pretty sure that Oliver Reed had no clue that he was going to die when he walked into that Irish pub simply looking for a good time.
It is shame, however, that he didn’t get to watch Gladiator in all of its epic glory. The film hit theaters on May 5, 2000, and was met with glowingly positive reviews from critics. It was a huge box office success as well grossing $457 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2000.
Gladiator also won numerous awards including five Academy Awards and Four BAFTAs, And to this day, it regularly appears on critics ‘best of lists’.
Anyway, now’s your turn to let your voice be heard. In the comments section below, let us know whether you think Oliver Reed actually predicted his own death or if you think he just made a lucky guess.
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