Grandson of actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who founded the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1904.
He was a close friend of The Who's drummer Keith Moon.
Reed died during the filming of Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000), and it cost the company $3 million to recreate his face so he could "appear" in the scenes he still had left to shoot.
Owned a villa in the south of France next door to Jack Hawkins' villa.
By the mid-1970s he was considered by many to be Britain's biggest movie star. He declined roles in The Sting (1973) and Jaws (1975) because he didn't want to relocate to Los Angeles. Both of these roles were taken by fellow British hellraiser Robert Shaw. However, a Hollywood executive claimed, "Reed didn't turn us down. We turned him down. We like our stars to have respect - Oliver Reed didn't respect anyone and he showed it."