'Lawrence of Arabia' star Peter O'Toole dead at 81



'Lawrence of Arabia' star Peter O'Toole dead at 81

LONDON (AP) — Peter O'Toole, the charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, has died, his agent said Sunday. He was 81.
O'Toole died Saturday after a long illness, Steve Kenis said in a brief statement.
The family was overwhelmed "by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. ... In due course there will be a memorial filled with song and good cheer, as he would have wished," O'Toole's daughter Kate said in the statement.

O'Toole got his first Oscar nomination for 1962's "Lawrence of Arabia," his last for "Venus" in 2006. With that he set the record for most nominations without ever winning, though he had accepted an honorary Oscar in 2003.
A reformed — but unrepentant — hell-raiser, O'Toole long suffered from ill health. Always thin, he had grown wraithlike in later years, his famously handsome face eroded by years of hard drinking.
A reformed — but unrepentant — hell-raiser, O'Toole long suffered from ill health. Always thin, he had grown wraithlike in later years, his famously handsome face eroded by years of hard drinking.
But nothing diminished his flamboyant manner and candor.

"If you can't do something willingly and joyfully, then don't do it," he once said. "If you give up drinking, don't go moaning about it; go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Wilt."
O'Toole began his acting career as one of the most exciting young talents on the British stage. His 1955 "Hamlet," at the Bristol Old Vic, was critically acclaimed.
International stardom came in David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia." With only a few minor movie roles behind him, O'Toole was unknown to most moviegoers when they first saw him as T.E. Lawrence, the mythic British World War I soldier and scholar who led an Arab rebellion against the Turks.

May he rest in peace. I'll have to re-watch Becket tonight.

I remember reading somewhere that after Lawrence of Arabia won the Palme d'Or at Cannes the Times of London described O'Toole as a British actor -- a few weeks later he crashed his car driving drunk and the Times called him an Irish actor.


I just watched Lawrence of Arabia two days ago, and started Becket too. Eternal rest grant unto him.




He was one of the last classy actors in Hollywood. May he rest in peace.



It might be Peter's finest moment. In the history of cinema there are a very few moments of such soaring idealism as this.

Cervantes' tale of Don Quixote (the Man of La Mancha) may be the basis of it, and the song "The Impossible Dream" (The Quest) composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion the booster rocket that sends the moment into orbit; but O'Toole's acting (and singing!) skills brought to audiences the person of the old man who tossed off the burden of sanity to battle evil and see the inherent beauty of the sinners about him.

Though the Spanish Inquisition plays the unseen heavy in the movie (though Cervantes was acquitted and his story published - a detail the movie doesn't quite get to) -- the way in which Cervantex/Quixote (played by O'Toole) changes the lives and souls of his fellow prisoners and cast members - makes "Man of La Mancha" one of the best Christian -themed movies ever.

Not so much in the history of it or accuracy of details regarding Cervantes' life - but in the message that each person might make a tremendous difference in the lives around him/her with a life lived in courage while loving God and neighbor. :)

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest, to follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To be willing to give when there's no more to give
To be willing to die so that honor and justice may live

And I know if I'll only be true to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

-- lyrics by Joe Darion

Famous Peter O'Toole Quotes

"Victory!" - **Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha

Father Christopher:** Who are you if you don't stand up for what you believe?
** -- From "For Greater Glory" **

Katherine: But you risk losing everything you hold dear.
Arthur Chipping: Everything I hold dear [as he holds Katherine] I am holding now.

-- From Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

*Thomas a Becket: * Honor is a private matter within; it's an idea, and every man has his own version of it.

**O'Toole as **King Henry II: How gracefully you tell your king to mind his own business.

King Henry II: [laughing in both amusement and anger] It's funny! It's too funny! Becket is the only intelligent man in my kingdom, and he's against me!

Miguel de Cervantes: I've been a soldier and a slave. I've seen my comrades fall in battle or die more slowly under the lash in Africa. I've held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no brave last words, only their eyes, filled with confusion, questioning "Why?" I don't think they were wondering why they were dying, but why they had ever lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? To surrender dreams - -this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness! But maddest of all -- to see life as it is and not as it should be.

Thank you Peter. "For Greater Glory" was a fitting exit to a fine career for you!

http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/filmchat/files/2012/07/bible1966peterotoole.jpg http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/5b/b6/5bb609ca887eef1f0680621522014426.jpg?itok=fwX1qt87

O'Toole as God in disguise, visiting Sodom in "The Bible" (left) . As a pacifist priest arrested during the Church persecution by anti-clerical Mexico in the 1930s. (right)


Eternal rest grant unto him oh Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.


Does anyone know his reasons for reportedly turning down a knighthood in 1987?


He was fabulous in “My Favorite Year” as the drunken English actor named Swan and he also did the voice of Ego the food critic in “Ratatouille” I loved him in “High Spirits” as the down on his luck Irish lord of a ruined, haunted manor. I am old enough to have seen him play “Lawrence of Arabia” on the big screen. I was too young to really understand the film, but his performance was riveting. He brought all his skill to whatever part he played, big or small. And he had a true reverence for the sacred, even if he had a hard time being chaste himself.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he, and all the faithful departed, rest in peace.
Amen. :crossrc:


Did you like O'Toole and Burton in Becket?

O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn in "The Lion in Winter?"

Richard Harris in "Cromwell"?

Then you will like this tribute (to great "English actors" * from SCTV's Joe Flaherty, John Candy, Dave Thomas and Catherine O'Hara ...

"The Man Who Would Be King of the Popes!"

youtube.com/watch?v=L2xWQr4VaUA < IMO hilarious.

  • Technically:

O'Toole was Irish
So IS Harris
Burton was Welch
Hepburn was from Connecticut.

But this is still funny. Peter O'Toole probably loved it.


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