Thursday, December 19, 2013

Peter O'Toole, "Lawrence of Arabia" Star

Peter O’Toole, Actor Whose Acclaim Began With ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ Dies at 81

Adam Larkey/ABC
Actor Peter O’Toole Dies at 81: Peter O’Toole, whose performance in the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia” earned him overnight fame, died on Saturday.

Peter O’Toole, an Irish bookmaker’s son with a hell-raising streak whose performance in the 1962 epic film “Lawrence of Arabia” earned him overnight fame and established him as one of his generation’s most charismatic actors, died on Saturday in London. He was 81.
Columbia Pictures, via Photofest
“Lawrence of Arabia” showcased Peter O’Toole, left, with Omar Sharif, as a rising acting talent.

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His daughter Kate O’Toole said in a statement that he had been ill for some time.
Blond, blue-eyed and well over six feet tall, Mr. O’Toole had the dashing good looks and high spirits befitting a leading man, and he did not disappoint in “Lawrence,” David Lean’s wide-screen, almost-four-hour homage to T. E. Lawrence, the daring British soldier and adventurer who led an Arab rebellion against the Turks in the Middle East in World War I.
The performance brought Mr. O’Toole the first of eight Academy Award nominations, a flood of film offers and a string of artistic successes in the ‘60s and early ‘70s.
In the theater — he was a classically trained actor — he played an anguished, angular tramp in Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and a memorably battered title character in Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” In film, he twice played a robust King Henry II: first opposite Richard Burton in “Becket” (1964), then with Katharine Hepburn as his queen in “The Lion in Winter” (1968). Both earned Oscar nominations for best actor, as did his repressed, decaying schoolmaster in “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1970) and the crazed 14th Earl of Gurney in “The Ruling Class” (1973).
Less successful was his Don Quixote in “Man of La Mancha,” Arthur Hiller’s 1972 adaptation of the Broadway musical. But the performance emphasized that Mr. O’Toole’s particular specialty had become the outsider or misfit: dreamy, romantic, turbulent, damaged or even mad but larger than life.
Mr. O’Toole threw himself into what he called “bravura acting,” courting and sometimes deserving the accusation that he had was over-theatrical, mannered, even hammy. His lanky, loose-jointed build, his eyes, his long, lantern-jawed face, his oddly languorous sexual charm and the eccentric loops and whoops of his voice tended to reinforce the impression of power and extravagance.
Burton called him “the most original actor to come out of Britain since the war.” There was “something odd, mystical and deeply disturbing” in his work, he said.
Some critics called him the next Laurence Olivier. As a young actor, Mr. O’Toole displayed an authority that the critic Kenneth Tynan said “may presage greatness.” In 1958, the director Peter Hall called Mr. O’Toole’s Hamlet in a London production “electrifying” and “unendurably exciting” — a display of “animal magnetism and danger which proclaimed the real thing.”
He showed those strengths somewhat erratically, however; for all his accolades and his box-office success, there was a lingering note of unfulfilled promise in Mr. O’Toole.
It was no surprise when Olivier chose him to inaugurate Britain’s National Theater Company in 1963 by reprising his Hamlet. But the first night left most critics unmoved and unexcited. The actor himself lamented that it had been “the most humbling, humiliating experience of my life.”
“As it went on,” he said, “I suddenly knew it wasn’t going to be any good.”
A 1965 production of David Mercer’s “Ride a Cock Horse,” in which Mr. O’Toole played an adulterous alcoholic, was booed at its London opening.
In the movies, he continued to be a marquee name, though he drew only mixed reviews for a subsequent run of performances: as the cowardly naval officer seeking redemption in “Lord Jim,” Richard Brooks’s 1965 adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel; as a playboy in “What’s New, Pussycat?,” a 1965 comedy with Peter Sellers that was written by a young Woody Allen; and as the Three Angels in “The Bible: In the Beginning,” John Huston’s 1966 recreation of Genesis. Mr. O’Toole’s sadistic Nazi general in Anatole Litvak’s “Night of the Generals” (1967) was panned outright.
His carousing became legend. As Mr. O’Toole himself said, he had long been “happy to grasp the hand of misfortune, dissipation, riotous living and violence.” He counted Burton, Richard Harris, Robert Shaw, Francis Bacon, Trevor Howard, Laurence Harvey and Peter Finch among his drinking companions. He lost much of his “Lawrence” earnings in two nights with Omar Sharif at casinos in Beirut and Casablanca.
At Odds With Hollywood

Peter O’Toole, Actor Whose Acclaim Began With ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ Dies at 81

(Page 2 of 4)
Though Mr. O’Toole won many lesser awards during his career, triumph at the Academy Awards eluded him, perhaps in part because he had made no secret of his dislike of Hollywood and naturalistic acting, which he considered drab. He was nothing if not ambitious, but success would come on his own terms, not the movie industry’s. He had made that plain at 18, when an acting career was already in his mind. In his notebook he made a promise to himself: “I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony. I do not crave security. I wish to hazard my soul to opportunity.”


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Peter Seamus (some sources say Seamus Peter) O’Toole was born on Aug. 2, 1932, in the Connemara region of the West of Ireland, the son of Constance, a Scotswoman who had been a nurse, and Patrick, an itinerant Irish bookmaker whose dandified dress and manner earned him the nicknames Spats and Captain Pat.
Mr. O’Toole liked to tell interviewers that his background was “not working class but criminal class.” The father was left with a bad right hand after all its knuckles were systematically broken, presumably by creditors.
When Peter was a baby, the family moved to England and settled in a tiny house on a black-cobbled street in an impoverished section of industrial Leeds. The neighborhood had a “reek of slag and soot and waste,” as he described it in an autobiography.
Peter was an altar boy at the local Roman Catholic church and displayed a gift for creative writing, but he left school at 13 and became a warehouseman, a messenger, a copy boy, a photographer’s assistant and, eventually, a reporter for The Yorkshire Evening News. A poor journalist by his own admission, he was fired by the editor with the words, “Try something else, be an actor, do anything.”
It was a constructive nudge. (He had already tried his hand at amateur dramatics.) After he had an obscure debut as a rum-swigging seafarer in a melodrama called “Aloma of the South Seas,” Mr. O’Toole was cast by Leeds’s well-regarded Civic Theater in the lead role in an adaptation of Turgenev’s “Fathers and Sons.”
Military service soon interrupted his career, but his theatrical aspirations were not to be denied. At 20 and almost penniless, he went to Stratford to see Michael Redgrave performing in the title role of “King Lear.”
By his own account, Mr. O’Toole spent the night in a field filled with hay and manure, hitchhiked to London and ventured into the lobby of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. There he chanced to fall into conversation with the principal, Sir Kenneth Barnes, who encouraged him to apply for an audition. He did, and received a full scholarship. Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Brian Bedford were among his fellow students.
After graduating in 1955 he was invited to join one of Britain’s premier repertory companies, the Bristol Old Vic. He performed with the troupe for three and a half years, and it was there that his Hamlet so impressed Mr. Hall. It brought Mr. O’Toole, at 27, national attention, and Mr. Hall induced him to join his newly founded Royal Shakespeare Company. In Stratford, his Petruchio in “The Taming of the Shrew” and Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” won critical acclaim and the admiration of Mr. Lean, who, as it happened, was casting his screen biography of Lawrence.
An Epic T. E. Lawrence
At six feet two, Mr. O’Toole was not an obvious choice for the role of a five-foot-four scholar-soldier, and the producer, Sam Spiegel, had found him bumptious in a meeting. But after Marlon Brando turned down the role, Lean lobbied for Mr. O’Toole and won the day.
His casting led to a mesmeric yet meticulous performance that brought world renown and an Oscar nomination to an actor whose only notable screen appearance to date had been as a priggish young officer in “The Day They Robbed the Bank of England,” in 1960.
Whatever his later reputation as a roisterer, Mr. O’Toole was conscientious when it came to preparing for a role. In the two-odd years it took to shoot “Lawrence,” he read all he could about the man, studied Bedouin culture, lived in a Bedouin tent, taught himself the essentials of Arabic and learned to ride a camel. His acting method, he wrote in his autobiography, blended “magic” with “sweat” — a matter of allowing a text to flow into his mind and body until he fully inhabited the character. “That simple, that difficult,” he wrote.
Mr. O’Toole admitted to being “a very physical actor.”
“I use everything — toes, teeth, ears, everything,” he said.

Peter O’Toole, Actor Whose Acclaim Began With ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ Dies at 81

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After his triumphs of the 1960s and early ‘70s, he entered his most troubled period. His earlier binges had led to arrests for unruly behavior; now they caused memory loss and debilitating hangovers. He developed pancreatitis, and a part of his intestines was removed.


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Then his much-loved father died, and soon afterward his wife, Sian Phillips, whom Mr. O’Toole had married in 1959, left him for another man. She explained later that her relationship with an egoistic star had become too tempestuous and “too unequal.” Divorce followed, in 1979.
Though Mr. O’Toole said he essentially gave up alcohol in 1975, his career continued to sputter. The universally panned 1979 film “Caligula,” in which he played the Emperor Tiberius, was followed in 1980 by one of the most derided theatrical performances of modern times: a Macbeth who, on the first night, attempted to exit through a wall of a dark set at the Old Vic and who, according to The Guardian, delivered every line “in a monotonous tenor bark as if addressing an audience of deaf Eskimos.”
Yet there was evidence of recovery. The ABC mini-series “Masada,” with Mr. O’Toole as a Roman general resisting freedom fighters in Judea, brought him an Emmy nomination in 1981. He also impressed with a galvanically garrulous Jack Tanner in Shaw’s “Man and Superman” in the West End in 1982.
The flamboyant charm of the autocratic movie director he played in the film “The Stunt Man” brought him a sixth Oscar nomination in 1981, and his Alan Swann, the swashbuckling, Errol Flynn-like thespian of “My Favorite Year,” won a seventh in 1983.
The 1980s brought him unwanted publicity in the form of a long court battle with his second wife, Karen Brown, an American actress with whom he had a son, Lorcan, in 1983. The eventual judgment allowed Mr. O’Toole — already the father of two daughters by Ms. Phillips — to look after Lorcan while he went to school in England; his mother was granted custody during vacations.
A Career’s Ebbs and Flows
Mr. O’Toole’s professional engagements became fewer. In 1987 his restrained performance as the court tutor in Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Last Emperor” was widely called the strongest in a strong movie. But onstage, his Professor Higgins in Shaw’s “Pygmalion” proved more controversial. In 1984, many London critics were admiring; The Observer described him in the role as “monstrous, eccentric, secretive, arrogant, asexual, childlike, cross and vain.” But in 1987, the New York critics were less impressed, and he was not nominated for a Tony Award.
Mr. O’Toole once wryly admitted that he continued to accept roles in inferior films, like “King Ralph,” because “it’s what I do for a living and, besides, I’ve got bookies to keep.” But in the 1990s he displayed his old strengths again and even discovered fresh ones.
He gave a hilarious performance as the erratic Lord Emsworth in a television adaptation of P. G. Wodehouse’s “Heavy Weather” in 1996 and a touching one as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the film “Fairytale — A True Story” in 1997. Most striking was his humorous yet poignant playing of an alcoholic journalist in Keith Waterhouse’s biographical play, “Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell,” in 1989, ’91 and ’99. He also reprised the role in a 1999 television movie.
In 2003, he played President Paul von Hindenburg of Germany in the CBS-TV mini-series “Hitler: The Rise of Evil,” and in 2004 he was Priam, father of the doomed Hector, in Wolfgang Petersen’s screen epic “Troy.”
“I’m a professional,” he said in one interview, “and I’ll do anything — a poetry reading, television, cinema, anything that allows me to act.”
Mr. O’Toole earned his eighth best actor nomination for “Venus” (2006), in which he was a lecherous old actor relegated to playing feebleminded royals or men on their deathbeds.
Mr. O’Toole’s personal life, meanwhile, calmed. Though he made regular trips to Ireland, and occasional ones to the racecourse, he came to prefer a settled, reclusive life in his North London house. He published the first two volumes of a projected three-volume autobiography titled “Loitering With Intent” in 1993 and 1997, impressing reviewers with the verve with which he evoked his early years as well as disorienting them with the overblown prose and chronological jumps of what he himself described as “a nonfictional novel.”

Peter O’Toole, Actor Whose Acclaim Began With ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ Dies at 81

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Apart from his three children — Kate, Pat and Lorcan, who survive him — cricket was Mr. O’Toole’s most lasting love. Indeed, he took a diploma as a professional coach when he was 60, the better to instruct his son and train a London boys’ team. He is also survived by a sister, Patricia Coombs.


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But in 1999 he told an interviewer that his only exercise was now “walking behind the coffins of my friends who took exercise.” His once-stormy love life appeared to be over, too. “George Eliot is my only steady girlfriend,” he said. “We go to bed together every night.”
Mellowed, but Not Too Much
Yet the man Johnny Carson once described as perhaps his most difficult guest ever was not wholly changed. Mr. O’Toole could be prickly, especially when interviewers asked if he had squandered his talents, or when pet dislikes came up. These included what he called “di-rect-ors,” who he felt had gained too much power over actors; Britain’s National Theater, which he called a “Reich bunker”; and Broadway, which he said was run by “pigs.”
In his later years he cut a raffish figure, continuing to wear green socks in honor of his Irish ancestry and to smoke unfiltered Gauloises from a long cigarette holder. He was a gaunt, somewhat intimidating figure as well.
Yet his friends knew him as a kindly, generous, responsive man. He claimed that off the stage he sometimes wept with such intensity “that the tears fly out horizontally.” And in the theater his emotional depth was apparent when he played the alcoholic title character in “Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell.” The third and last time he took the role, in 1999, many felt an essentially comic performance had darkened, deepened and grown in pathos. It was as if Mr. O’Toole were meditating on past loss and waste — as if he were offering a rueful elegy to himself.
In 2000, he was honored with the Outstanding Achievement citation at the Laurence Olivier Awards in London. In 2003, one nomination away from setting a record among actors for the most Oscar nominations without winning — he received an honorary one for lifetime achievement.
At first reluctant to accept, fearing it would somehow signal the end of his career, Mr. O’Toole eventually agreed to the honor as something well earned. He started hisacceptance speech by saying, not without a note of triumph: “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride — my foot. I have my very own Oscar now to be with me till death us do part.”


Peter O'Toole

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Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole -- LOA trailer.jpg
Publicity photo for Lawrence of Arabia
BornPeter James O'Toole[1]
(1932-08-02)2 August 1932
Location disputed, see Early life
Died14 December 2013(2013-12-14) (aged 81)
London, England, UK
CitizenshipIreland, United Kingdom
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1954–2012
Spouse(s)Siân Phillips (1959–1979; divorced); 2 daughters (Kate and Patricia)
Academy Awards
Academy Honorary Award
Emmy Awards
Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
1999 Joan of Arc"Lord Jim" "What's New Pussycat"
Golden Globe Awards
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1964 Becket
1968 The Lion in Winter
Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1969 Goodbye, Mr. Chips
BAFTA Awards
Best Actor in a Leading Role
1962 Lawrence of Arabia
Peter James O'Toole[2] (2 August 1932 – 14 December 2013) was an Irish actor.[3] He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company, before making his film debut in 1959.
He achieved stardom playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which he received his first Academy Award nomination. He received seven further Oscar nominations – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006) – and holds the record for the most Academy Award acting nominations without a win. He won four Golden Globes, a BAFTA and an Emmy, and was the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award in 2003.

Early life[edit]

O'Toole was born in 1932. Some sources give his birthplace as Connemara, County Galway, Ireland while others have reported Leeds in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England.[4][5] O'Toole himself was not certain of his birthplace or date, noting in his autobiography that, while he accepted 2 August as his birthdate, he had a birth certificate from each country, with the Irish one giving a June 1932 birthdate.[6] He grew up in the Hunslet industrial area of south Leeds,[7] son of Constance Jane Eliot (née Ferguson), a Scottish[8] nurse, and Patrick Joseph "Spats" O'Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player and racecourse bookmaker.[9][10][11][12] When O'Toole was one year old, his family began a five-year tour of major racecourse towns in Northern England. He was brought up as a Catholic.[13][14]
O'Toole was evacuated from Leeds early in World War II and went to a Catholic school for seven or eight years, St Joseph's Secondary School, David Street, Holbeck, Leeds, where he was "implored" to become right-handed. "I used to be scared stiff of the nuns: their whole denial of womanhood – the black dresses and the shaving of the hair – was so horrible, so terrifying," he later commented. "Of course, that's all been stopped. They're sipping gin and tonic in the Dublin pubs now, and a couple of them flashed their pretty ankles at me just the other day."[15]
Upon leaving school O'Toole obtained employment as a trainee journalist and photographer on the Yorkshire Evening Post, until he was called up for national service as a signaller in the Royal Navy. As reported in a radio interview in 2006 on NPR, he was asked by an officer whether he had something he had always wanted to do. His reply was that he had always wanted to try being either a poet or an actor. O'Toole attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) from 1952 to 1954 on a scholarship after being rejected by the Abbey Theatre's drama school in Dublin by the director Ernest Blythe, because he couldn't speak the Irish language. At RADA, he was in the same class as Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Brian Bedford. O'Toole described this as "the most remarkable class the academy ever had, though we weren't reckoned for much at the time. We were all considered dotty."[16]


O'Toole began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company, before making his television debut in 1954. He first appeared on film in 1959 in a minor role in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England.[17] O'Toole's major break came when he was chosen to play T. E. Lawrence in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962), after Marlon Brando proved unavailable and Albert Finney turned down the role. His performance was ranked number one in Premiere magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.[18] The role introduced him to US audiences and earned him the first of his eight nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor. T. E. Lawrence, portrayed by O'Toole, was selected in 2003 as the tenth-greatest hero in cinema history by the American Film Institute.[19]

Publicity photo for Lawrence of Arabia
O'Toole is one of just a handful of actors to be Oscar-nominated for playing the same role in two different films; he played King Henry II in both Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968). O'Toole played Hamlet under Laurence Olivier's direction in the premiere production of the Royal National Theatre in 1963. He demonstrated his comedic abilities alongside Peter Sellers in the Woody Allen-scripted comedy What's New Pussycat? (1965). He also appeared in Seán O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock at Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.

As King Henry II in The Lion in Winter (1968)
O'Toole fulfilled a lifetime ambition when taking to the stage of the Irish capital's Abbey Theatre in 1970, to perform in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot alongside Donal McCann. In 1972, he played both Miguel de Cervantes and his fictional creation Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, the motion picture adaptation of the 1965 hit Broadway musical, opposite Sophia Loren. The film was a critical and commercial failure, criticised for using mostly non-singing actors. O'Toole's singing was dubbed by tenor Simon Gilbert,[20] but the other actors did their own singing. O'Toole and co-star James Coco, who played both Cervantes's manservant and Sancho Panza, both received Golden Globe nominations for their performances. In 1980, O'Toole starred as Tiberius in the Penthouse-funded biopic, Caligula.
In 1980, he received critical acclaim for playing the director in the behind-the-scenes film The Stunt Man.[21][22] He received mixed reviews as John Tanner in Man and Superman and Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, and won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (1989).[23] O'Toole was nominated for another Oscar for My Favorite Year (1982), a light romantic comedy about the behind-the-scenes at a 1950s TV variety-comedy show, in which O'Toole plays an ageing swashbuckling film star reminiscent of Errol Flynn. He also appeared in 1987's acclaimed The Last Emperor.
O'Toole won an Emmy Award for his role in the 1999 mini-series Joan of Arc. In 2004, he played King Priam in the summer blockbuster Troy. In 2005, he appeared on television as the older version of legendary 18th century Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova in the BBC drama serial Casanova. The younger Casanova, seen for most of the action, was played by David Tennant, who had to wear contact lenses to match his brown eyes to O'Toole's blue. O'Toole was once again nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Maurice in the 2006 film Venus, directed by Roger Michell, his eighth such nomination.
O'Toole co-starred in the Pixar animated film Ratatouille (2007), an animated film about a rat with dreams of becoming the greatest chef in Paris, as Anton Ego, a food critic. O'Toole appeared in the second season of Showtime's successful drama series The Tudors (2008), portraying Pope Paul III, who excommunicates King Henry VIII from the church; an act which leads to a showdown between the two men in seven of the ten episodes. Also in 2008, he starred alongside Jeremy Northam and Sam Neill in the New Zealand/British film Dean Spanley, based on an Alan Sharp adaptation of Irish author Lord Dunsany's short novel, My Talks with Dean Spanley.[24]
On 10 July 2012, O'Toole released a statement announcing his retirement from acting.[25]

Personal life[edit]

While studying at RADA in the early 1950s, O'Toole was active in protesting against British involvement in the Korean War. Later, in the 1960s, he was an active opponent of the Vietnam War. He played a role in the creation of the current form of the well-known folksong "Carrickfergus" which he related to Dominic Behan, who put it in print and made a recording in the mid-1960s.[26]
In 1959, he married Welsh actress Siân Phillips, with whom he had two daughters: actress Kate and Patricia. They were divorced in 1979. Phillips later said in two autobiographies that O'Toole had subjected her to mental cruelty, largely fuelled by drinking, and was subject to bouts of extreme jealousy when she finally left him for a younger lover.[27]

In the TV film Present Laughter (1968)
O'Toole and his girlfriend, model Karen Brown[28] had a son, Lorcan Patrick O'Toole (born 17 March 1983), when O'Toole was fifty years old. Lorcan, now an actor, was a pupil at Harrow School, boarding at West Acre from 1996.[29]
Severe illness almost ended O'Toole's life in the late 1970s. His stomach cancer was misdiagnosed as resulting from his alcoholic excess.[30] O'Toole underwent surgery in 1976 to have his pancreas and a large portion of his stomach removed, which resulted in insulin-dependent diabetes. In 1978, he nearly died from a blood disorder. He eventually recovered, however, and returned to work. He resided on the Sky Road, just outside Clifden in Connemara in County Galway, Ireland, from 1963, and at the height of his career maintained homes in Dublin, London and Paris (at the Ritz, which was where his character supposedly lived in the film How to Steal a Million). Finally, he made his home solely in London.
O'Toole was reportedly offered a knighthood in 1987,[citation needed] but turned it down for personal and political reasons.[citation needed]
In an interview with National Public Radio in December 2006, O'Toole revealed that he knew all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets. A self-described romantic, O'Toole regarded the sonnets as among the finest collection of English poems, reading them daily. In the film Venus, he recites Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"). O'Toole wrote two memoirs. Loitering With Intent: The Child chronicles his childhood in the years leading up to World War II and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1992.[citation needed] His second, Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice, is about his years spent training with a cadre of friends at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. O'Toole spent parts of 2007 writing the third instalment.[citation needed]
O'Toole played rugby league as a child in Leeds[31] and was also a rugby union fan, attending Five Nations matches with friends and fellow rugby fans Richard Harris, Kenneth Griffith, Peter Finch and Richard Burton. He was also a lifelong player, coach and enthusiast of cricket[citation needed] and a fan of Sunderland A.F.C..[32]
O'Toole was interviewed at least three times by Charlie Rose on his eponymous talk show. In 17 January 2007 interview, O'Toole said that Eric Porter was the actor who had most influenced him. He also said that the difference between actors of yesterday and today is that actors of his generation were trained for "theatre, theatre, theatre." He also believes that the challenge for the actor is "to use his imagination to link to his emotion" and that "good parts make good actors." However, in other venues (including the DVD commentary for Becket), O'Toole also credited Donald Wolfit as being his most important mentor. In an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on 11 January 2007, O'Toole said that the actor he most enjoyed working with was Katharine Hepburn, his close friend; he played Henry II to her Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.
Although he lost faith in organised religion as a teenager, O'Toole expressed positive sentiments regarding the life of Jesus Christ. In an interview for The New York Times,[33] he said "No one can take Jesus away from me...there's no doubt there was a historical figure of tremendous importance, with enormous notions. Such as peace." Earlier in the interview, he announced "I am a retired Christian".[33] O'Toole played Samuel in One Night with the King, about Esther, in 2006 and the minor role of Father Christopher in For Greater Glory: the True Story of Cristiada in 2012.
O'Toole died on 14 December 2013 at the Wellington Hospital in London, aged 81, following a long illness.[34]

Academy Award nominations[edit]

O'Toole was nominated eight times for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, making him the most-nominated actor never to win the award.
In 2003, the Academy honoured him with an Academy Honorary Award for his entire body of work and his lifelong contribution to film.[35] O'Toole initially balked about accepting, and wrote the Academy a letter saying that he was "still in the game" and would like more time to "win the lovely bugger outright." The Academy informed him that they would bestow the award whether he wanted it or not. He told Charlie Rose in January 2007 his children admonished him, saying that it was the highest honour one could receive in the filmmaking industry. O'Toole agreed to appear at the ceremony and receive his Honorary Oscar. It was presented to him by Meryl Streep, who has the most Oscar nominations of any actress (17).

Other awards[edit]

1963Academy AwardBest Actor in Lead RoleLawrence of ArabiaNominated
Golden GlobesBest Motion Picture ActorNominated
BAFTA AwardsBest British ActorWon[36]
Laurel AwardsTop Male PerformanceNominated
Golden GlobesBest Male NewcomerWon[37]
1964David di Donatello AwardsBest Foreign ActorLawrence of ArabiaWon[38]
1965Academy AwardBest Actor in Lead RoleBecketNominated
Golden GlobesBest Motion Picture Actor – DramaWon[39]
BAFTA AwardBest British ActorNominated
Sant Jordi AwardsBest Performance in Foreign FilmWon[40]
Laurel AwardsBest Male PerformanceNominated
Top Male StarNominated
1967David di Donatello AwardsBest Foreign ActorThe Night of the GeneralsWon[41]
1968New York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest ActorThe Lion in WinterNominated
1969Academy AwardBest Actor in Lead RoleThe Lion in WinterNominated
Golden GlobesBest Motion Picture ActorWon[42]
1970Academy AwardBest Actor in Lead RoleGoodbye, Mr. ChipsNominated
Golden GlobesBest Motion Picture Actor – Musical/ComedyWon[43]
David di Donatello AwardsBest Foreign ActorWon[44]
National Board of ReviewBest ActorWon[45]
National Society of Film Critics AwardsBest ActorNominated
Laurel AwardsTop Male StarNominated
1972National Board of ReviewBest ActorThe Ruling Class
Man of La Mancha
1973Academy AwardBest Actor in Lead RoleThe Ruling ClassNominated
National Society of Film Critics AwardsBest ActorNominated
Golden GlobesBest Motion Picture Actor – Musical/ComedyMan of La ManchaNominated
1980New York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest ActorThe Stunt ManNominated
1981Academy AwardBest Actor in Lead RoleThe Stunt ManNominated
Golden GlobeBest Motion Picture Actor – DramaNominated
National Society of Film Critics AwardsBest ActorWon[47]
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead ActorMasadaNominated
1982Golden GlobeBest Performance by an ActorMasadaNominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association AwardsBest ActorMy Favorite YearNominated
New York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest Supporting ActorNominated
1983Academy AwardBest Actor in Lead RoleMy Favorite YearNominated
Golden GlobeBest Actor in Motion PictureNominated
National Society of Film Critics AwardsBest ActorNominated
1984Sant Jordi AwardsBest Foreign FilmWon[48]
1985Razzie AwardsWorst ActorSupergirlNominated
1987CableACE AwardBest ActorThe Ray Bradbury Theatre
(For episode "Banshee")
Razzie AwardsWorst Supporting ActorClub ParadiseNominated
1988David di Donatello AwardsBest Foreign ActorThe Last EmperorWon[50]
1989BAFTA AwardBest Actor in Supporting RoleThe Last EmperorNominated
1999Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting ActorJoan of ArcWon[51]
2000Golden GlobeBest Performance by an ActorNominated
2003Academy AwardHonorary AwardWon
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting ActorHitler: The Rise of EvilNominated
DVD Exclusive AwardsBest ActorGlobal HeresyNominated
2004Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Supporting ActorTroyWon[52]
2006British Independent Film AwardsBest ActorVenusNominated
Chicago Film Critics AssociationBest ActorNominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association AwardsBest ActorNominated
Satellite AwardsBest ActorNominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society AwardsLifetime Achievement AwardWon[53]
2007Academy AwardBest Actor in Lead RoleVenusNominated
Golden GlobeBest Performance by an ActorNominated
BAFTA AwardBest ActorNominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association AwardsBest ActorNominated
National Society of Film Critics AwardsBest ActorNominated
Online Film Critics Society AwardsBest ActorNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsBest ActorNominated
2009Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Supporting ActorThe TudorsNominated
Best Supporting Actor in TelevisionDean SpanleyWon[54]
London Critics Circle Film AwardsBest British Supporting ActorNominated
New Zealand Film and TV AwardsBest Supporting ActorWon[55]
Monte-Carlo TV FestivalOutstanding ActorThe TudorsNominated


Stage appearances[edit]

1955–58 Bristol Old Vic[edit]

1959 Royal Court Theatre[edit]

1960 Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford[edit]

1963 National Theatre[edit]


1966 Gaiety Theatre, Dublin[edit]

1969 Abbey Theatre, Dublin[edit]

1973–74 Bristol Old Vic[edit]

1978 Toronto, Washington and Chicago[edit]



Peter O’Toole, in full Peter Seamus O’Toole (born August 2, 1932, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland—died December 14, 2013, London, England), Irish stage and film actor whose range extended from classical drama to contemporary farce.
O’Toole grew up in Leeds, England, and was educated at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He was a reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post in his teens and made his amateur stage debut at Leeds Civic Theatre. After serving two years in the Royal Navy, he acted with the Bristol Old Vic Company from 1955 to 1958 and made his London debut as Peter Shirley in George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara (1956). He appeared with the Shakespeare Memorial Company at Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, in 1960 in highly praised performances as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, and he played the lead in Hamlet for the inaugural production of the National Theatre in London in 1963. A prominent film star by this point in his career, O’Toole continued to appear on stages throughout the world to great acclaim. He was named associate director of the Old Vic in 1980.
O’Toole made his motion picture debut in Kidnapped in 1960 and two years later became an international star for his portrayal of T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia (1962). In 1964 he played Henry II in Becket, and he had the title role in Lord Jim (1965). He appeared as Henry II again in The Lion in Winter (1968), a film notable for the witty verbal sparring matches between O’Toole and costar Katharine Hepburn. The Ruling Class (1972), a controversial black comedy that has become a cult classic, cast O’Toole as a schizophrenic English earl with a messiah complex. Personal problems contributed to a decline in his popularity during the 1970s, but he made a strong comeback in the early ’80s with three well-received efforts. He portrayed a duplicitous and domineering movie director in The Stunt Man (1980), and his performance as the Roman commander Cornelius Flavius Silva in the acclaimed television miniseries Masada (1981) was hailed as one of the finest of his career. His most popular vehicle during this period was My Favorite Year (1982), an affectionate satire on the early days of television, in which O’Toole played Alan Swann, a faded Errol Flynn-type swashbuckling screen star with a penchant for tippling and troublemaking.
O’Toole subsequently maintained his status with fine performances in such films as the Oscar-winning The Last Emperor (1987), the cult favourite Wings of Fame (1989), the miniseries The Dark Angel (1991), and Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997), in which O’Toole portrayed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Notable screen roles in the 21st century include an aging romantic in Venus (2006), the voice of a haughty food critic in the animated Ratatouille (2007), and a priest in the historical drama For Greater Glory (2012). In addition, in 2008 he portrayed Pope Paul III in the TV series The Tudors.
In 1992 O’Toole published a lively memoir, Loitering with Intent: The Child; a second volume, Loitering with Intent: The Apprentice, appeared in 1996. He was nominated for an Academy Award eight times: for Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year, and Venus; in 2003 he was awarded an honorary Oscar. O’Toole received an Emmy Award for his performance as Bishop Cauchon in the television miniseries Joan of Arc (1999).

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