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Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed [Hardcover]

Robert Sellers
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 May 2008
"God put me on this earth to raise sheer hell." Richard Burton "I was a sinner. I slugged some people. I hurt many people. And it's true, I never looked back to see the casualties." Richard Harris "Booze is the most outrageous of all drugs, which is why I chose it." Peter O'Toole "I don't have a drink problem. But if that was the case and doctors told me I had to stop I'd like to think I would be brave enough to drink myself into the grave." Oliver Reed This is the story of four of the greatest thespian boozers who ever walked - or staggered - off a film set into a pub. It's a story of drunken binges of near biblical proportions, parties and orgies, broken marriages, drugs, riots and wanton sexual conquests. And yet these piss artists were seemingly immune from the law. They got away with it because of their extraordinary acting talent and because the public loved them. They were truly the last of a breed, the last of the movie hellraisers.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Preface Publishing; 1st ed. edition (29 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184809017X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848090170
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 324,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A rollicking read" (Sunday Express)

"Sellers' biography is a jaw-dropping account of their twisted, tortured, politically incorrect lives" (Daily Record)

"Robert Sellers gleefully follows the seedy lives of the four liver-abusing actors as they drink, brawl and shag their way through the decades into eventual oblivion" (Metro)

"The best book we've ever read involving binge drinking, botched stage entrances, Hollywood floozies and British movie stars . . . Sometimes the form of a piece so perfectly fits its content you can actually hear the angels of accordance purr. Such is the case with Hellraisers . . . The sprightly smash 'n dash of the prose so wonderfully captures the wanton belligerence of both bingeing and stardom you almost feel the guys themselves are telling the tales" (GQ)

"Unputdownable ... Sports book of the half-century, you might even say" (Frank Keating Guardian) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

An extremely entertaining biography of four charismatic and much-loved actors: Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed. Robert Sellers follows their stories through five decades of boozing, brawling and braggadocio. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old-school... 5 Jun 2008
This book is definitley for you if like me, you're underwhelmed by the sheer blandness of many of the film stars from the modern era...Yes Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, stand up!...In the era of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, those guys would have been playing the screaming, helpless victim role, dead by the first quarter of the film!

This book is largely all about the drunken escapades of the four Hellraisers, and is guaranteed to have you laughing out loud more than once. It's worth remembering though, just how talented and unique these men were though and it's that talent/charisma/uniqueness/last of a dying breed, call it what you will, that makes them truly worth remembering.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REAL actors 30 Aug 2008
Love this book - instantly readable, full of information, these were real actors living hellishly wonderful lives - not like today's talentless soap stars. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 10 July 2008
I haven't laughed so hard or loud reading a book in a long time! Tears were rolling down my face. Not only four great actors but four total madmen. Brilliant! Have a read, You won't be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read 13 Aug 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I would suggest that there is nothing earth shattering in terms of revelations here about any ot the characters involved, but the book is well assembled and interesting to read. I did enjoy reading about these greats of the stage and screen especially when out coming crop of actors and musicians seem to be so very bland. Interesting and amusing book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compendium of drunken anecdotes 2 July 2009
If you enjoy hearing about other peoples' inebriated exploits, this book will be a complete treat. Burton, O'Toole, Harris and Reed certainly drank a lot so there are numerous stories of their madcap antics whilst under the influence. On one level, this is jolly funny. However, as others have already said, it does get a bit repetitive and whilst I like a drink as much as the next bloke (not the subjects of this work however), there is an underlying sense that these 'hellraisers' can't have been that much fun to be around.
Sellers delivers the narrative with laddish zeal, but the book is actually light on why these actors felt compelled to knock it back with such dedication. Was it as a consequence of being tortured creative artists, egomaniacs or just plain old-fashioned alcoholics? You may be left wondering, but ultimately not caring.
Worth a read for the funny stories; if nothing else, you'll be able to recount some of them in the pub where they'll probably get a laugh. Just don't expect to read well-rounded biographies - this is specifically a history of drinking and drunkenness.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drinking in Heaven 28 May 2008
Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, by Robert Sellers, recounts the lives and deeds of four of Britain's most talented actors and also the most sozzeled in a generation of highly smashed thespians.
In our sanatised age when a couple of drinks too many will send a present day celebrity to the Priory for six weeks of counselling, post war Britiain produced a group of actors who drank, fornicated and caused hell wherever they went.Possessing larger than life personalities, distinctive of feature and voice, while at the same time having star quality and a crate full of raw talent they lived life to the full. Beginning in the fifties, this group of actors boozed their way through three decades, untill death, ill-health and too many late nights caught up with them. Out the four actors featured in this book, and many more mentioned in passing, only Peter O'toole, now frail and in his mid-seventies is still with us.
Robert Sellers has written a cocktail of a book, weaving biography and well worn tale together. Rather than give us a six chapters on each actor, Sellers jumps around from one to the other as we follow them up the ladder to stardom and the booze soaked tales. Although some of the stories in this book are as old as the hills and have become drinking folklore such as Oliver Reed drinking 126 pints in 24 hours or Richard Harris being so paralytic he went to the wrong room in his hotel and climbed into the bed of a young couple, Sellers sets such a pace that reading Hellraisers is like spending a boozy night out at the pub and laughing yourself stupid at the same story your've heard many times but actually finding it funnier in the upteeth telling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great tales 25 Sep 2008
these are the ultimate theatrical characters - and this is a great new way to look at them. It darts around at a bit of a pace but then so did they. it is a bit sad to see the damage they did to those around them as well as to themselves. But it's a great record of a wilder age - and shows that booze and britain go back a very long way ....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boozy fun 2 Jan 2009
Don't get this expecting a high-brow biography of a bunch of thespians. Or even a serious book dissecting the lives of these actors, all the films that they were in etc etc.

The clue to this is the title. It's a series of tales and anecdotes about these four drinkers (plus the occasional aside about some of their drinking buddies) interwoven against the background of the films / plays that they were appearing in and their sex lives. It's entertainment, pure and simple. I devoured this in a couple of days and had to stop myself laughing out loud many times over.

The only possible downside is that there is a certain amount of rose tinted nostalgia in this too. Admittedly there are some bland actors around now (as there were back in those days), but there are still a few hell raisers out there today.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars These guys knew how to live!!!
They lived life to the max and then some!! Very good read and an insight into the alcoholic frolicking of some of the world's greatest actors.
Published 9 days ago by Peter Higginbotham
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Brilliant read, You will wonder how these guys ever managed to stay alive as long as they did
Published 11 days ago by Steve Cooke
4.0 out of 5 stars RECOMMENDED TO ME
I have yet to read this bought for when I go on holiday sometime in the future
Published 11 days ago by Mrs. E. M. Lanham
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as much fun as it wants to be
A collection of articles and interviews. Not as much fun as it wants to be.
Published 23 days ago by Tej
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing funny and amusing
Amazing funny and amusing. A great holiday read. Those boys were really going for it! What a great attitude to life.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. R. Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, but still fairly entertaining book.
Found myself tutting a lot at the authors style and typo's, but as an introduction to these great actors its a good start. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. M. J. Griggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Hellraisers
Brilliant actors true icons Proper blokes who did what they wanted, how they wanted! They will always be rememberedJust how I'd like to go!
Published 1 month ago by Garry Copeland
3.0 out of 5 stars Should have called it "Booze and Hangovers"
Once you've read the first few chapters it gets a bit repetitive. The exploits of these four dipsos in their youth is no different to anyone elses really - apart from the quality... Read more
Published 3 months ago by hopefulstrider
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
funny in sections long read yes its ok i do recommend this book. Easy to follow and very funny stories
Published 3 months ago by dougstar
5.0 out of 5 stars They were legends
it was a great read.the lives of these remarkable men was never dull.I even felt an affinity with them,being a hard drinker myself in earlier years and loving it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by mr g Holmes
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