I’d like to think that every one of you reading this right now knows the name Peter O’Toole. The legendary actor has given us several amazing performances and has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, but sadly never won one in competition. However, the Academy did honor him with an Honorary Oscar for his entire body of work in 2003, an award that he deserved very much.
Today, the 79-year old O’Toole has announced his retirement from acting, a career that he has been involved in for more than 50 years.
His official statement reads:
Dear All, It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back. My professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort. It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I’ve shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits. However, it’s my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one’s stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell. Ever Peter O’Toole.
O’Toole’s career has been filled with memorable performances, but the film he is probably most known for is David Lean‘s outstanding 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, a film that is on my own list of the top ten films of all time. In the film, he portrayed T.E. Lawrence, the man who united the Arab tribes against the Turks during World War I. The film earned him his first Oscar nomination, but there was some pretty tough competition that year, with the award eventually going to Gregory Peck for his outstanding performance in To Kill A Mockingbird.
Lawrence was also O’Toole’s breakout performance, which led to other memorable roles in films like Becket, The Lion in Winter, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips, which coincidentally earned him his next three nominations.
For the last few years, he’s turned up every now and again, making appearances in projects like Troy and The Tudors. You might have even recognized his voice in Pixar’s Ratatouille.
Apparently now that O’Toole has officially retired, he will be working on a third volume of his memoirs. With a career like his, I’m sure it warrants it. It’s a shame to see him leave the profession, but we’ll always have his amazing body of work to look back at. We’ll miss O’Toole, but we wish him the best in whatever he chooses to do next.
(Source: First Showing)