The 5 Hardest Drinkers in Hollywood History

Here’s a list of five great Hollywood icons who liked to have a few before the camera started rolling. We were going to find ten but we got shit-housed and lost the bottom part of the list, which we feel is keeping in spirit with those we are choosing to admire.

Peter O’Toole – “Booze is the most outrageous of drugs, which is why I chose it.”

hardest drinkers in hollywood

One night Irish-born actor, Peter O’Toole,  was at a pub and, in order to continue drinking after last call, bought the place outright. Of course the next day he sobered up and, upon realizing what he had done, returned to the pub and tore up the check. He managed stayed friends with the pub owner up until his death. O’Toole arrived at the funeral a few sheets to the wind. After crying his eyes out, he realized he was at the wrong funeral.

Once, during a rehearsal, he cut the tip of his finger off. To sterilize it,  he dunked it in brandy, then, in classic O’Toole fashion, chugged the brandy. With his finger numbed (and his mind, too), he stuck the finger back on and wrapped it up. Three weeks later he unwrapped it to find the finger put on the wrong way.

He set his apartment on fire… twice.

Books could be and have been written about his exploits. The man is a legend. What should be noted though is that he was the only one on the list to quit drinking. For that he is still alive today.

Richard Harris – “Someone asked me once “What is the difference between Tom Cruise now and you when you were a major star?” I said there is a great difference. Look at a photograph of me from the old days and I’m going to one of my film premieres with a bottle of vodka in my hand. Tom Cruise has a bottle of Evian water. That’s the difference – a bottle of Evian water.”

hardest drinkers in hollywood

After a week long bender, Harris, AKA the original Dumbledore, was found lying drunk in the street by a policeman. The cop asked him what he was doing and Harris said “The world is spinning.” When the policeman asked him how lying in the street was going to help, Harris replied, “I’m waiting for my house to go by.”

Richard Burton – “When I played drunks I had to remain sober because I didn’t know how to play them when I was drunk.”

hardest drinkers in hollywood

Burton married and divorced Elizabeth Taylor, twice. You’d have to be drunk to get married to the same woman more than once. Burton is also remembered for saying, “I have to think hard to name an interesting man who does not drink.”

W.C. Fields – “A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.”

hardest drinkers in hollywood

When the comedian was working he would carry around a couple of martinis in a flask, but to avoid  confrontation he told everyone it was pineapple juice. One day someone switched out the contents with actual pineapple juice which led to Fields crying out, “Who put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?”

Oliver Reed – “I have two ambitions in life: one is to drink every pub dry, the other is to sleep with every woman on earth.”

 Forget how Oliver Reed lived. This is how he died. During a break from filming Gladiator, the 61 year old bad-ass downed three bottles of captain Morgan, 8 bottles of German beer and a half bottle of Famous Grouse Whiskey. Oh yeah, and he beat five young royal Navy Sailors at Arm Wrestling. Afterwards he had a massive heart attack and ascended directly to heaven.


Acting is a somewhat silly profession; perhaps in some regards it’s useless to the greater good of society. But as the great writer H.L. Mencken said, “The harsh, useful things of the world, from pulling teeth to digging potatoes, are best done by men who are as starkly sober as so many convicts in the death-house, but the lovely and useless things, the charming and exhilarating things, are best done by men with, as the phrase is, a few sheets in the wind.”

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