Happy Birthday Peter O’Toole

On 02 August City Connect celebrates the birthday of Peter O’Toole, the famous Irish actor who shot to stardom after his 1962 portrayal of T. E. Lawrence in the classic film Lawrence of Arabia.

Biography

Peter Seamus Lorcan O’Toole (born 2 August 1932) is a highly-honoured film and stage actor, now retired. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most competitive Academy Award acting nominations without a win. He has won four Golden Globes, a BAFTA, and an Emmy, and was the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award in 2003 for his body of work.

After starting out in British theatre, 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 introduced him to American audiences and earned him the first of his eight nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor – he is the most-nominated actor never to win the award.

Peter O’Toole has starred in countless films and was most recently seen in the 2004 blockbuster Troy where he played King Priam and the 2006 film Venus where he portrayed Maurice. O’Toole’s latest appearance on the small screen was in the second season of Showtime’s hit drama series The Tudors, portraying Pope Paul III, who excommunicates King Henry VIII from the Catholic church. O’Toole has narrated the forthcoming horror comedy film Eldorado, which was directed by Richard Driscoll.

In an interview with National Public Radio in December 2006, Peter O’Toole revealed that he knows all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets. A self-described romantic, O’Toole regards the sonnets as among the finest collection of English poems, reading them daily. In the movie Venus, he recites Sonnet 18, “Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day.”

Peter O’Toole has written 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. 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. The books have been praised by critics such as Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote: “A cascade of language, a rumbling tumbling riot of words, a pub soliloquy to an invisible but imaginable audience, and the more captivating for it. O’Toole as raconteur is grand company.”

Peter O’Toole has said that the actor he most enjoyed working with was Katharine Hepburn, his close friend, with whom he played Henry II to her Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.

On 10 July 2012, O’Toole released a statement that he was retiring from acting.

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2 Responses to Happy Birthday Peter O’Toole

  1. Mack says:

    Enjoying the Born This Day series – looking forward to your next celebrity birthday tribute!

  2. Ian says:

    Peter O’Toole is a great actor and one of my favourites. It was great to read about him on your site.