The son of Oliver Reed has revealed that nothing will grow on his famous father’s grave in Cork because so many people pour a tipple on it to toast the larger-than-life acting legend.
Mark Reed also disclosed that his dad fell in love with Ireland because it was one of the few places where he wasn’t judged.
Reed’s eldest child, who still regularly returns to Churchtown where the Gladiator star spent his final years, confirmed to Anton Savage yesterday on The Ray D’Arcy Show that plants won’t grow on the plot because so many fans pour a drink from the nearby pub on it.
He said: “That is correct. Absolutely. I’ll be up there myself in early May and he will get a gin and tonic as well.”
He told how his father had a love affair with Ireland which spanned four decades, and first spent time here when he bought a holiday cottage in Kilrush in Co Clare in the 1960s.
“He loved Ireland and felt very much at home here. People didn’t judge him. He was as good as the pint last night and he was allowed to be one of the community which was difficult for him in other places. He felt very much at home. He just loved the countryside and loved the place.”
In 1994, five years before his death, Reed snapped up the Castle McCarthy estate in north Cork with his wife, Josephine. He died while filming Gladiator in Malta in 1999.
Mark said he believes Oliver Reed: Wild Thing, a new play on his father’s life, captures his spirit.
The one-man show, which is coming to Ireland this summer, runs through his cinematic highs, legendary drinking adventures, and disastrous chat show appearances.
His son said he feels it was unfortunate that his notoriety overtook his film career in later life.
He said he grew up used to his famous Dad’s wild antics but also told how his father was a stickler for good manners at home.
“He wasn’t the easiest person all the time. He was imaginative and bright and wasn’t conventional. I look back very fondly on it. Elocution was important, table manners were important, clean fingernails were important, shiny shoes were important. All the things he thought made a man. It was full of rules. I think with him he liked rules but he always liked to break them.”
Mark also told how he found it difficult to watch Gladiator as his father died during its filming.
“I was invited to a screening of it before it came out. I didn’t go. It felt a little bit too early. When I did watch it I could see the CGI bits. I have been very lucky to have a digital and a film and sound history of my father. I can look at him on YouTube at any moment I want.”
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