Sunday, May 2, 1999 Published at 20:32 GMT 21:32 UK
Oliver Reed: The original hellraiser
His notoriety peaked in 1985 when he married 21-year-old Josephine
Oliver Reed will probably be better remembered for his off-screen antics than his work as an actor.
His career took off in the 1960s, but he found greater fame as a hard-drinking hellraiser.
He was born in Wimbledon, south London, on 13 February 1938.
Acting soon followed, during his national service in Hong Kong, and his long search for a showbusiness break began soon after.
The lead role in a BBC series, playing Richard of Gloucester, led to a string of television parts before the movies beckoned in the shape of Hammer horror films.
He was quickly cast as the type of actor people "love to hate" and became one of the handful of British actors never out of a well-paid job.
His larger-than-life screen presence was capitalised on by Ken Russell, who cast him in Debussy on television and then in the films Women in Love, The Devils and Tommy.
But it was the nude wrestling scene with Alan Bates in the 1969 film Women in Love that started the wave of publicity that later threatened to engulf Reed.
'I don't punch people any more'
His hard-drinking reputation and the scrapes he found himself in almost overshadowed later films, including Musketeers' Triple Echo and Castaway.
The actor explained his behaviour by saying that having "cultivated the image of a baddie", he would pursue it, if it was what people wanted to see.
"That is why, if I go on a chat show, I give them the very thing they want, and sometimes I go over the top," he said.
"But I don't punch people any more; I am too old for that now. And very often I have hit someone only to avoid being hit myself."
Escapades which either he or others have recounted include:
His notoriety peaked in September 1985 when he married 21-year-old Josephine Burge, who had been his companion since she was 16.
His previous marriage was to Irish model Kate Byrne, with whom he had a son Mark. The marriage was dissolved in 1970 after 10 years.
He also had a daughter, Sarah, from a 12-year relationship with a ballet dancer, Jacquie Daryl.
But beyond the legend there was a man with a marvellous speaking voice who was the ultimate professional - always word perfect and unfailingly courteous to colleagues and technicians.