British actor Oliver Reed died yesterday in Malta as a result of a heart attack in a bar at the age of 61.
Reed, appeared in 53 films, ranging from Ken Russell’s 1969 film “Women in Love,” which featured nude wrestling and the first screen scene showing a bare penis, to the family musical “Oliver!” and “Castaway,” the story of a man who spends a year alone with woman on a desert island.
Rattled by drinking problems and bar brawls, Reed’s career soon became overshadowed by the events, but the astute actor hardly had any regrets.
To most film fans, Reed is probably best known for his portrayal of the werewolf in the 1961 Hammer horror classic “The Curse of the Werewolf”, incidentally Reed’s first leading role. He quickly became typecast as a villain, and will always stay in our minds for his portrayal of violent hard-drinking rogue Bill Sykes in “Oliver!,” the 1968 screen version of the Charles Dickens classic “Oliver Twist.”