A leading man of prodigious talents, Irish-born Peter O’Toole was raised in Leeds, England, the son of a bookie. As a boy, he decided to become a journalist, beginning as a newspaper copy boy. Although he succeeded in becoming a reporter, he discovered the theater and made his stage debut at 17. He served as a radioman in the Royal Navy for two years, then attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where his classmates included Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Richard Harris. He spent several years on-stage at the Bristol Old Vic, then made an inconspicuous film debut in 1960. In 1962, O’Toole was chosen by David Lean to play T.E. Lawrence in Lean’s masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia (1962). The part made O’Toole an international superstar. He continued successfully in artistically rich films as well as less artistic but commercially rewarding projects. He received Academy Award nominations (but no Oscar) for seven different films. However, medical problems (originally thought to have been brought on by his drinking but which turned out to be stomach cancer) threatened to destroy his career and life in the 1970s. He survived by giving up alcohol and, after serious medical treatment, returned to films with triumphant performances in The Stunt Man (1980) andMy Favorite Year (1982). His youthful beauty lost to time and drink, O’Toole has found meaningful roles increasingly difficult to come by, though he remains one of the greatest actors of his generation. He has two daughters, Pat and Kate O’Toole, from his marriage to actress Siân Phillips. He also has a son, Lorcan O’Toole, by model Karen Brown. He partnered with Jules Buck in “Keep Productions”.
RIP: Peter O’Toole
December 16, 2013 by Leave a Comment