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When Stars Collide: Richard Harris On Drinking With Ollie Reed

by Mark Collings
31 March 2014 1 Comment

The law of the hellraiser dictates that this pair probably caroused on more than one occasion. Incredibly, they didn't, but they did meet for a sherry once in New York...

‘Are you looking at me, Reed?’

Richard Harris: “I heard the story that was circulating a while ago, that I was going to fight Reed at the Royal Albert Hall in some sort of boxing contest, during our so-called ‘hellraising’ days. That was rubbish, a load of old bollocks, in fact I only met him once.

“I was in New York staying in a hotel, the name of which escapes me. It was quite late at night and I’m up in my room, and the phone rings. It’s Reed, and he’s obviously had his share of cocktails. Christ only knows how he got the number but, anyway, there you are. He says to me, ‘Harris, you cunt, the next time I see you I am going to kick your fucking head off.’ I was sober – I can’t remember why, but I was – so I said, ‘Reed, where are you staying?’ After more of the, ‘I’m going to break your neck, you Irish cunt!’ bollocks, he tells me where he is staying, and as it happened it was not that far away from my hotel.

There is just this eerie silence, like in the cowboy films, before the gunfighters go for their guns, the calm before the ruck and all that.

“So I say, ‘Reed, I want you stay exactly where you are. I will be with you shortly, you big bag of bollocks,’ or whatever the hell I said. So I get in a cab and take the short ride to Reed’s hotel, and I naturally walk into the bar to look for him. It’s quite late and there aren’t that many people around, so it doesn’t take me long to see Reed at the bar with a friend of his. It was either a friend or his minder – anyway, he was a big bastard. So I walk up to the pair of them and I say, ‘OK, who is going to be first? Is it you, Reed? Or is it the fucking gorilla, or is it the pair of youse at the same time?’ So I’m now steeling myself for battle, but nothing happens. There is just this eerie silence, like in the cowboy films, before the gunfighters go for their guns, the calm before the ruck and all that.

“And Reed is just leaning at the bar, swaying a little, and looking at me like I’m bloody deranged or something. Then he walks over and he just shouts, ‘Harris, come and join me for a sherry!’ and gives me this enormous bear hug and a big slobbering kiss on the cheek. I think he was so drunk he’d totally forgotten about the conversation on the phone half an hour earlier. Either that or he didn’t fancy the job. Well, I had a quick drink with him and then I went back to my hotel. If I can rightly recall I didn’t stay long, because I never liked drinking with actors very much, and anyway I think Reed threatened to show me the tattoo on his arse.”

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lisa lorraine 10:24 pm, 18-May-2014

that is hilarious, Reed finding that Harris is in New York, calling him up and talking trash, only to give him a slobbering kiss--sounds just like him!

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