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Sunday, May 2, 1999 Published at 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK


Stars remember 'wonderful' Reed

Oliver Reed's death took stars by surprise

The film world has been remembering Oliver Reed, who has died in Malta aged 61.

Film director Michael Winner described him as a "wonderful, kind man" and a "perfect gentleman", whose real-life persona belied his portrayal by the media.

The director praised the "terrific, controlled performance" Reed gave in Winner's latest movie, Parting Shots, due to be released next week.

[ image: Michael Winner: He was a quiet, sensitive man]
Michael Winner: He was a quiet, sensitive man
And he spoke sadly of the comeback he believed Reed would have made.

Winner, who met Reed in 1960 and cast him three years later in The System, said: "Oliver Reed was one of my closest friends in the world, and we knew each other for 40 years.

"To hear this news I just screamed in disbelief. It was such a shock.

"He was the most wonderful, kind, quiet, sensitive man. He's known as rowdy, but that wasn't the better side of him."

He added that word was getting round that Reed, whose rabble-rousing reputation often preceded him, was once more employable and set for a comeback.

"I spoke to him over the phone from Malta two days ago, and he was in terrific form and totally sober.''

[ image: Glenda Jackson:
Glenda Jackson: "He had no problem with alcohol"
Glenda Jackson, the Oscar-winning British actress turned politician who starred in Women in Love with Reed, said they were as "different as chalk and cheese". However, she added the actor was "immaculately professional".

"Once he was in front of the camera, he was all work," she said. "I am very sorry he has gone, but I think he probably went the way he would have wished."

[ image: Barbara Windsor: He got more handsome with age]
Barbara Windsor: He got more handsome with age
Carry On star Barbara Windsor also paid tribute to Reed.

She said: "Our paths crossed all the time, especially in the 1960s and 1970s when we were making a lot of films at Elstree, although we never made a film together. "He was a superb man.

"I know he had this hell-raising image but I found him a lovely man. He was a nice, gentle soul and he had a wonderful home life.

"As he got older, he got more attractive and more handsome."

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