(Tim Rutton's review appeared in the LA Times, 12/18.) 

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

Wild tales, well-told, of the Brit booze brigade.

One of life's oddities is how often a series of genuinely comedic incidents congeals into, if not tragedy, then tragic loss.

Robert Sellers certainly has no intention of turning readers' thoughts in that moody direction, but "Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed" probably will, though there's a tremendous amount of unapologetic, unself-conscious fun to be had on the way to introspection.

Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed were four of the great actors to emerge in postwar British stage and cinema; they also were legendary drunks, who not only pursued their avocation — it surely was more than a recreation — in public and without regrets. Today, when what we used to term a "hard drinker" is routinely referred to as a "high-functioning alcoholic," it's difficult to imagine an account of their lives free of judgment or amateur psychoanalysis. Sellers, a drama school grad and former London stand-up comic-turned-film writer and pop culture critic, manages to pull it off.

(Read more) 

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/la-et-rutten18-2009dec18,0,3248209.story 

View the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hellraisers-Inebriated-Richard-Burton-Harris/dp/0312553994/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261181379&sr=8-2

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