Charlie Kray is promoting a movie about his criminal young brothers


November 08, 1990|By Lou Cedrone

Reginald and Ronald Kray don't care that much about ''The Krays,'' the new film that is based on their experiences as criminals in England.

Their brother, Charlie, however, does. Charlie is helping promote the film. He was all set to come to the United States to spread the word, but there was a little thing like a visa. There was some question as to whether or not he would get one.

''I don't know why,'' said Charlie, on the phone from England. ''I've served my time, and I'm pursuing a very respectable career, that of a promoter. You might say I'm in the entertainment business.''

Charlie is six years older than his twin brothers, who were born in 1934.

''If they had listened to me, they wouldn't have gotten into trouble,'' he said. ''They did listen when I was around, but when I wasn't around, they didn't, and that's when all the trouble happened.''

The ''trouble'' was murder and jail. Both Reginald and Ronald are serving time for the murders of two of their rivals. They were sentenced in 1969. Both had been in the nightclub business, and when others tried to muscle in, Reggie and Ronnie got rid of them gangland fashion.

Charlie was also sentenced to jail, but his was a short term. ''I was sentenced to 10 and only served seven,'' he said. ''They said I was an accessory to the crime, which is a lot of rubbish.'' He uses that word a lot, rubbish.

He thinks Billie Whitelaw, who plays the mother of the three boys in the film, does a super job. ''But my mum was a little softer,'' he said. ''Actually she was much softer. She was a truly wonderful woman.''

In the film, Mum seems oblivious to what her twin sons are doing, and Charlie says that is more or less accurate. ''She would hear things and confront her boys with the information, but they would deny it and ask her who she preferred to believe, them or the prattlers. They'd tell her she shouldn't believe any of that rubbish.

''She was like all mums,'' said Charlie. ''She just didn't want to believe the awful things that were being said about her boys, and she didn't.''

When she did find out what her sons were doing, when they were sentenced, the experience was shattering to her. ''That's what it was,'' said Charlie. ''It was terrible.''

In the film, the boys join the service then leave it after they floor a non-com who is foolish enough to give them orders. Once out, they become professional boxers, careers that lead them into the protection racket.

''That's a lot of rubbish, too,'' said Charlie. ''They weren't in the protection racket. They didn't prey on any innocent people. They only asked for their share when someone would try to open a club too close to theirs.

''Their trouble was that they were good boxers. They kept winning and winning. It was like Billy the Kid. They had to keep on winning.

''Actually, they weren't all that bad. I mean, look at some of the things that go on today. I mean, look at Hussein. He's diabolical.''

But they did kill two people.

''Well, yes, they did do that,'' said Charlie, laughing a bit, ''but they just picked on their own kind. They also helped a lot of people. It was like in 'The Godfather.' They did things for a lot of people, people who were indebted to them. They didn't pick on the shopkeepers. They thought the world of the boys.''

Charlie doesn't think his brothers are at all interested in seeing the film.

''I see both of them from time to time, and they just don't seem to care,'' he said.

In the film, Reginald marries at the age of 31. His brother, however, is not interested in women.

''Yes, he's homosexual,'' said Charlie. ''He never denied it. He is what he is, and he didn't try to hide it.''

The producers of the film are already talking about doing a sequel to ''The Krays.'' Would Charlie help promote the sequel?

''Oh, sure,'' he said. ''If they do one, I'll help with it. I just hope they let me come to your country.''

''The Krays'' opens here tomorrow.

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