When this book was published in 2009, Peter O'Toole was, as noted in the title of the last chapter, "Last Man Standing," and now all four men are gone. This is about how four handsome, enormously talented men who caroused away their assets with alcohol, drugs, gambling, scores of women, and behavior so outrageous, even compared with today's tell-and-show-all celebrity antics, that at relatively early ages they were shells of what they had been--robust manly men. Quite frankly and openly they did not give a damn and relished the immediate pleasures and accompanying publicity about their bad behavior. At various times in their lives, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Oliver Reed, and Peter O'Toole crossed paths, professionally and/or socially. Aside from the self-damaging behavior, attributes emerge: the playful wit of O'Toole, Burton and Harris; and Oliver Reed's consistently intensely menacing performances.
Some films to consider: Richard Harris' early film This Sporting Life ; Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold ; Women in Love; Three Musketeers, where Oliver Reed did not portray one of his usual forbidding roles; with disarmingly good looks Peter O'Toole shot to stardom in Lawrence of Arabia; and there is his last movie Venus where he appeared physically fragile but luminous, especially in the scenes with Vanessa Redgrave.
Some books about the actors: Furious love : Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century ; Richard Burton Diaries ; Public Places: My Life in the Theatre, with Peter O'Toole, and Beyond ; Loitering with Intent ; Lawrence of Arabia: the Thirtieth Anniversay Pictorial History