Actor Oliver Reed dies in Malta bar


Valletta - The English actor Oliver Reed died suddenly in Malta yesterday after suffering a suspected heart attack in a Valletta bar, police said.

Mr Reed (61), who appeared in 53 films, was in Malta to make The Gladiator, being produced by a Steven Spielberg company.

He was due to appear as a trainer of Roman gladiators.

A local man said Mr Reed had been in the bar with his wife, some Maltese friends and crew members of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Cumberland, now in a Valletta harbour.

"He had been drinking on the floor when he felt sick. I tried giving him artificial respiration on a bench as an ambulance was called," the friend, who asked not to be identified, said.

Born on February 13th, 1938, in Wimbledon, England, Reed reached his acting peak in the 1960s and 1970 in films such as Oliver!, Women in Love, The Jokers and The Devils. He landed his first leading role in 1961 in Curse of the Werewolf and was quickly typecast as a villain.

Dick Hogan reports:

Mr Reed had lived at Churchtown, near Buttevant in Co Cork, since 1993 and was well known in the area. He lived with his wife Josie at Castle McCarthy, a Georgian building on 17 acres of land with paddocks and stables.

Last night Mr Pat O'Brien, a local publican, said he was lost for words upon hearing of the actor's death, as were all the people of the area. Father Patrick Twohig said the actor was a very big-hearted character.