Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed

Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed

by Robert Sellers

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Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
kila_squid More than 1 year ago
I heard about this book on NPR and was intrigued. While I am a fan of the actors featured, my interest in the book had less to do with them and more to do with their lifestyle, which is a good thing. The book is a bit of a biography, but mostly it is a tale of drunkeness and debauchery...my favorite topics. It is a quick read. I think I read it in a day, but I find myself re-reading passages of it. When your life has turned into an endless array of PTO meetings, soccer games and other suburban banalities, turn to Hellraisers and pour yourself a gin and tonic. I was surprised by how much I actually came to like the four actors featured (O'toole, Harris, Burton and Reed)..but I wouldn't want to be married to them.
SongSanDiego More than 1 year ago
I love to read about lives with passion, craziness, overindulgence and whatnots. If you are one of those who can't understand drinking, smoking and taking mind-altering drugs and consider them sins, you should not pick up this book. Many of the episodes in this book kept me laughing at night, some made me cringe, some made me to put down the book and think. Since these actors represent the big part of British/American film history, you will also find this book most entertaining.
jbowie21 More than 1 year ago
I found this book very absorbing and interesting. Mr. Sellers fills the book with plenty of background and tons of interesting stories and behind the scenes tidbits. I understand the focus of this book was on the "hell raising" of these talented men, however I do wish these exploits weren't always treated with such a light hand. Each of these men could have been the focus of a tragic tale as well and by playing off nearly all of their substance abuse issues with humorous stories or in a humorous manner does not, in fact, portray the whole story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book and a quick read. I was amazed that these men lived as long as they did! In the end, I came to admire the life they chose but only because they were honest about what they wanted. They did what they pleased but I couldn't have married any one of them. The biggest surprise is the turn around in O'Toole's life, and he is the only survivor of the group. Highly recommended for fans of Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of these four and found nothing new here. The author used the word pissed about a million times. The book was erratic, jumping around. The author just glosses over stories. I cannot believe a publisher reviewed this mess before going to print. No pictures anywhere in the book. You will need a drink to get through this mess. IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A perfect example of drunken excess and self destruction at its finest
E-Reads More than 1 year ago
In contrast to the idea that just because someone consumes seemingly endless quantities of alcohol resulting in various forms of crazy behavior, that person should stop drinking, I liked the author's relative objectivity regarding the drinkers he writes about in this book. However, I wish he would have gone beyond describing a series of happenings to some famous guys who drank, drank, drank. The subject offers many layers for consideration but, for the most part, this book read like one long introductory paragraph after another. I wish he would have crafted a creative thinkpiece by weaving a better connecting thread through it all and taken a risk with some kind of statement. Otherwise, what's the point?
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an odd book. It's basically a collection of anecdotes from the drinking lives of four amazing actors. The anecdotes pretty much follow one basic form: Person X got really drunk, did something stupid, doesn't remember it, doesn't regret it. There is a slight variation where Person X remembers it and regrets it, but this variation doesn't occur often. It's slightly different for each man - with Richard Harris and Oliver Reed there is a fight of some kind, with Richard Burton there is also Elizabeth Taylor (who drank as much or more than he did), and with Peter O'Toole there is always a bon mot. In the end the endless repetition of dumb activities reads like a great advertisement for a 12-step program - the pursuit of fun is all so desperate and boring and soulkilling. I'm a bit undecided as to whether or not this reaction is by design or not - the author is so absent and deadpan it's difficult to know what he might think.I was reminded of reading Touched with Fire, Kay Redfield Jamison's study of artists and bipolar disease. She neatly punctures the idea that madness and art are romantically and inextricably intertwined and instead dares to wonder how much these individuals might have accomplished had they not suffered from depression. Anyone who has ever been through a severe depression knows that there's nothing romantic or even remotely creative about it. When getting out of bed is your biggest achievement for the day it's hard to produce anything other than tears. I was left to wonder what they all might have been without the booze. It's telling that Peter O'Toole, the only one forced to quit drinking due to health concerns, is the only one of the four still alive.
craso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed are all very talented British actors who drank to extreme. Like all actors they craved attention and they found it at the local pub. There they could tell stories and challenge other drinkers to arm wrestle or head bang. They drank to have fun, but like anything done to excess, they caused others harm. They had failed marriages and their careers suffered. Some may say there lives were wasted, they would say their lives were full.This book is organized into chronological order starting with the actors formative years then moving into each decade of their careers and then the last chapter is devoted to the last remaining hellraiser. The author chronicles their antics at work and in their private lives. I am amazed that no one sued them and they were never in jail for long. If an actor in this decade did half the things these guys did it would be all over the internet in a minute and I don't think fans would consider it cute or funny. Actors now in days end up in jail and vilified in the press.I bought this book because Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed are among my favorite actors. They have enormous screen presence, probably due to their bad boy personalities. I never really paid much attention to Richard Burton or Richard Harris. Burton was more famous for being Elizabeth Taylor's husband than for his acting. I was very surprised at the hellraising she did. According to this book she was a bigger drinker than he was. The author has a "boys-will-be-boys" attitude about these gentlemen. I can't help but think that they all had psychological needs that drinking and carousing filled. They wanted to feel accepted or noticed or were just lonely. I still enjoy watching them on screen even after reading this book. The book doesn't cast them in a bad light. It's more like a loving tribute to four sad silly men.
burningtodd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These men lived the way that I want to live. They played by nobody¿s rules and were still successful. They had fun and lived, really lived. This book about the lives of Richard Harris, Richard Burton, Peter O¿Toole and Oliver Reed is a fascinating romp through the lives of the original British bad boys of film. My only complaint is that the book seems to be more vignettes from these men¿s lives, rather than a coherent through line. But it is still a laugh-out-loud good time.
dickmanikowski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This biography of four of the most gifted and most self-destructive actors from post-WWII Great Britain had some astounding stories of truly bizarre excess. Nevertheless, I found it barely interesting enough to finish it.
michcard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this collection of silly, drunken stories. I finished feeling like these men were simply bored with life and alcohol made it more interesting. The author refers to critics who said they wasted their talents and I've read readers' reviews who said it demonstrates the sad horrors of alcohol, but none of these men seemed to show any regrets for their life choices.
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