RIP Peter O’Toole

Hollywood & acting legend Peter O’Toole has died at the age of 81. The Irish-born, British reared actor (who shares a birthday with me) died on Saturday in a London hospital. O’Toole was nominated for eight Oscars in his distinguished career, and was known as a bit of a hellraiser.¬† Born to Constance Jane Eliot (n√©e¬†Ferguson), a¬†Scottish nurse, and Patrick Joseph “Spats” O’Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player, his family began a five-year tour of major racecourse towns in Northern England. 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. 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. 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.¬†The role earned him his first Oscar nomination, though he lost to Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. That established something of a pattern in O’Toole’s career. He would be nominated for eight Oscars, but never won until he was awarded an honorary one in 2003.¬†He received seven further Oscar nominations ‚Äď 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) ‚Äď 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. He won the Irish ¬†Film & Television Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for King Priam in Troy (2004).

In 1959, he married Welsh actress¬†Si√Ęn Phillips, with whom he had two daughters: actress¬†Kate¬†and Patricia. Peter and Si√Ęn were divorced in 1979. O’Toole and his girlfriend, model Karen Brownhad a son, Lorcan Patrick O’Toole (born 17 March 1983), now an actor, when O’Toole was fifty years old.

Peter Seamus O’Toole(2 August 1932 ‚Äď 14 December 2013)