Peter O'Toole Dies At Age 81
Hollywood lost a legend Saturday evening when 81-year-old Peter O’Toole passed away in a hospital bed in London.
The Guardian confirms the news passed along by O’Toole’s agent. The man had battled stomach cancer earlier, and had been wrestling with a long illness before finally succumbing over the weekend.
O’Toole last made major headlines by announcing his retirement from acting, going on record as stating: "I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell."
But it is to O’Toole that we must be thankful. Obviously, his turn in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia will be the one that marks his cinematic tombstone. It’s nearly impossible to think of O’Toole’s chiseled visage and not picture it set against the barren backdrops of Lean’s majestic film.
Yet to only know O’Toole through that masterpiece is to not really know O’Toole at all. Nominated eight separate times for the Oscar (and the recipient of an Academy Honorary Award in 2003), O’Toole showed exquisite range in memorable films like The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips and My Favorite Year. He last was nominated for the 2006 films Venus, and seemed to have the best odds as winning the prize for acting, but he lost out to Forest Whitaker’s The Last King of Scotland performance. Here is O’Toole accepting his Honorary Oscar in 2003.
As you can tell from Streep’s introduction, O’Toole was deeply respected by his peers, a veteran of stage and screen who brought class, dignity and a heaping helping of mischief lingering beneath his handsome façade. To his credit, O’Toole insisted he would remain "in the game" until his final days, only relenting and retiring when it seemed like illness would get the better of him. He may be out of the game now, but O’Toole will never be forgotten. Celebrate the man with this great Charlie Rose interview from back in the day:
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