January 2, 2017


Peter O’Toole (1932-) b. Connemara, Ireland.

Peter O'Toole

Born in Ireland, O’Toole grew up in Leeds, England, the son of a bookmaker father and a Scottish-born nurse mother. He attended RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) and made his film debut as Rob Roy in Disney’s Kidnapped (1960). One of the new wave of actors to emerge in British theatre in the late 1950s, O’Toole came to critical attention in The Long and the Short and the Tall (1959), though the more bankable Laurence Harvey played the part in the film version. O’Toole leapt to fame in the title role of Lawrence of Arabia (1962), for which he won a British Academy award and an Oscar nomination, followed by starring roles in Becket (1964) and Lord Jim (1965).

O’Toole would spend the rest of his career being nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards but never carrying off the Oscar. During the 60s he was rewarded with nominations for in the highly literate epic Becket (1964), the talky character-driven The Lion in Winter (1968) and the misfire musical adaptation of Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969). He has always been attracted to eccentric roles, and the eccentricity began to express itself in the 1970s, outrageously in The Ruling Class (1972), and in a public persona which moved from star acting to scandalous celebrity. He received a US Film Critics award for The Stunt Man (1979), and gave a restrained performance as the tutor in Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987). In 2003, the Academy Awards finally bestowed a circumspect O’Toole with an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. Ironically, following his stellar performance as a septuagenarian growing old disgracefully in the comedy drama, Venus (2006), O’Toole again received an Oscar nomination for Actor in a Leading Role.

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