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GLAD -HE-ATE-HERE; Film star Crowe's pounds 600 tip for pub's barstaff.

Byline: CLARE HUTCHINSON

BARSTAFF at a West Wales pub were left with plenty to Crowe about - when Gladiator star Russell left them a whopping pounds 600 tip and treated them to an impromptu gig.

The macho Hollywood star showed his softer side during a break in filming for his latest movie Robin Hood, which is being shot on Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire.

He gave the three-figure tip, which will be split among 10 staff, after feasting on mussels and a Jamie Oliver-inspired chicken dish at the Carew Inn, near Tenby.

He paid the pounds 240 bill for nine mates and then stunned staff with an extra wad of notes for their services.

One member of staff, who worked behind the bar when Crowe made last week's surprise visit, said: "I've worked here for two and a half years and the bar staff don't usually even get tips. Our boss has shared it between all of us who worked that night so we'll be taking home about pounds 60 each."

Staff were also treated to Crowe's singing skills as he whipped out his guitar and began belting out the Bryan Adams classic Summer of '69 with help from ER actor Scott Grimes and X-Men star Kevin Durand, who play Will Scarlett and Little John in the film.

"Now if anyone badmouths him I tell them to shut up," added the worker. "He could have paid and just left but they stayed instead and entertained us. Then he paid us that tip - it's the last thing you expect.

"He seemed quite friendly and chatty like a really nice guy, and he had a great singing voice."

Crowe led his nine merry men through a rendition of Everly Brothers hits and folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary's number one song Leaving On A Jet Plane. The Oscar-winning actor has previously dabbled in rock music, releasing CDs under the name Rus le Roq and 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts.

Another staff member said: "They were singing in harmony as if they had been practising. It was surreal.

"When they first got here they sat in the garden but people started trying to sneak around and take pictures of them so they moved inside.

"Two of them were some kind of bodyguards because they were walking around constantly, it was quite intimidating. But later he came into the kitchen and gave us all his autograph and we had a quick chat.

"Then he gave my boss the tip and they left. We were like: 'Did that just happen?'" Crowe, who used to be famed for his hellraising behaviour, reportedly quit booze after his 2005 Oscar-nominated film Cinderella Man. Staff at the pub let slip that he ordered one vodka and lemonade before moving on to bottled water.

Meanwhile, despite rumours the star had demanded a helicopter to ferry him between a posh Windsor pad and Pembrokeshire, it seems he is so taken with the rugged welsh coastline he's decided to stay on set.

The star, who was born in New Zealand but moved to Australia as a child, has been seen going back to basics and slapping steaks on a home-made barbecue in the actors' seafront camp.

One local witness said: "He seems to be down there most nights driving around on his quad bike. They've been taking odd bits of wood from the burner used on the set and driving it back to the camp to make a barbecue. It looks like they're having a whale of a time."

The 600-strong cast and crew of the Ridley Scott epic will begin the process of packing up and moving on when filming at Freshwater West ends on Tuesday.

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See more pictures of Russell Crowe filming in Pembrokeshire WalesOnline.co.uk /gallery

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ACTION MAN: Russell Crowe films Robin Hood in Freshwater West. Below, the Carew Inn
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 28, 2009
Words:645
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