Ollie's Last Pub
If there was ever going to be the right time, place and activity taking place for notorious carouser and hell-raising actor Oliver Reed’s life to come to an end then it would be at the end of a serious drinking session in a pub on a bar stool.
The boozer in question, called simply The Pub, in Valletta, has become a fitting shrine to the great man, unlike some of the other memorials dedicated to writers, film stars, actors, heroes and eccentrics all over the world, which are almost certainly not what the famous people involved themselves would have chosen.
Certainly Jim Morrison would have probably never have thought of picking the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris as a lasting place of tribute, while poet John Keats would have probably opted for somewhere quieter and maybe more in harmony with nature than Rome’s bustling Spanish Steps.
However, in the case of British actor Oliver Reed, a memorial pub would surely have received his full and enthusiastic seal of approval. Even those of us who never knew him are convinced he would have bloody loved the very idea!
Reed, who starred in such memorable films as Women in Love, The Three Musketeers, Oliver and Castaway, died on May 2, 1999 aged 61. His end came after a typical full-on drinking session in The Pub, a notoroious Valletta watering hole.
The hugely talented actor had, at the time, been on the island for the filming of the Hollywood blockbuster and multi-Oscar-winning epic, Gladiator. It was to be acknowledged as another classic Reed performance and one of his very finest.
Today, admirers of the great actor arrive from all over the world to pay their respects by actually sitting on the very spot where Ollie sat on his last ever night out. In his case, it was the last of many, many nights out - for Ollie liked a drink. In fact he liked lots of them!
The Pub, a small, English-style bar, was where Oliver Reed collapsed after having downed just the one too many. Actually, it was plenty too many as the pub proclaims his last round of drinks before he died while arm-wrestling with Royal Navy lads from HMS Cumberland was eight beers, 12 double rums and half a bottle of whisky.
Sadly, Reed died before the ambulance could get him to the nearest hospital. From then on, this city hostelry instantly became an artistic shrine where film-buffs, Ollie fans and curious other drinkers converge.
As the toasts for the great man ring out every evening, somehow you cannot help feeling his spirit shifting clumsily in to acknowledge their highly merited accolade as he raises his own divine glass to join them.
If you want to visit the location of Ollie’s most dramatic scene ever then head to Valletta, seek out Archbishop Street - Triq L-Acrisqof - alongside the President's Palace and you can’t miss it. Then raise a glass to the great man!
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