RAGING ALCOHOLICS: HOLLYWOOD WORST BOOZERS
Today's party animals are lightweights compared to some of the rowdy, drunken stars of Hollywood's golden era.
The raucous tell-all book Hellraisers by Robert Sellers spotlights such legendary Hollywood boozers as Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, Oliver Reed and Humphrey Bogart.
"The book reveals that O'Toole's drinking almost sent him to his grave before his 43rd birthday," said the insider."He drank to excess on location and was often considered too great a risk on an expensive picture. 'Booze is the most outrageous of drugs, which is why I chose it,' O'Toole said."
The actor once took pal Omar Sharif to see a Hollywood performance of controversial comic genius Lenny Bruce, who was hooked on drugs - and they all ended up behind bars.
"In the early morning hours, the three staggered back to Lenny's pad where he shot up in front of the two actors," said the insider.
"Lenny had been under surveillance for months, and cops swarmed into the house. All three were arrested and hauled off to jail."
Few could outdo party-hearty Oliver Reed, and according to the publishing insider, the book reveals the truth about how Reed died while shooting Gladiator.
"The actor was about to leave an English pub on the island of Malta in 1999 when a group of sailors burst in.
"'Let's have a drink,' Oliver roared. Reed downed TWELVE double shots of rum and then went back to his usual double whiskies.
"He then challenged the sailors to an arm-wrestling contest. He signed autographs and when the sailors left, he slumped over a chair and appeared to be sleeping.
"But he was dead!
"Reed had happily considered himself a male chauvinist pig and liked to see women on their hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen.
"When he espoused his thoughts on a TV show, fellow guest Shelley Winters poured bourbon over his head."
The book also discloses how Richard Harris, a raging alcoholic, nearly died from an LSD trip, says the insider. "He typically drank two bottles of vodka a day to take him up to 7 p.m., when he'd change to a bottle of brandy mixed with a bottle of port."
On location in Italy, Harris experimented with LSD and later reportedly admitted: "I went berserk and was stopped at the last minute from jumping off a balcony."
Harris worked with straitlaced Charlton Heston on Major Dundee and is said to have spent most of his time trying to figure out how he could slip LSD into Heston's coffee to loosen him up.
Humphrey Bogart's boozing turned out to be his salvation during filming of the The African Queen. He was the only one in the cast who didn't suffer from dysentery.
"While Bogie was on location for The African Queen, he was the only one who didn't succumb to pain and severe diarrhea - because he didn't drink the water and survived on Scotch!"
Happy New Year's!