It is truly a sad day for Hollywood as legendary actor Peter O’Toole died on Saturday at the age of 81. He passed away in a London hospital after battling a long-term illness and leaves behind his three children, Kate, Patricia and Lorcan O’Toole.
Though the actor had an illustrious career that spanned both the stage and screen, he is most notable for his role as T.E. Lawrence in the classic film Lawrence of Arabia, a role which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, the first of eight throughout his career. The most recent of those Oscar nominations came from his role in the 2006 movie Venus. Despite his numerous nominations and revered status in cinema, O’Toole never received an Academy Award, something that many have long considered a travesty.
The actor did receive an honorary Academy Award though, typically given to acclaimed filmmakers and actors who have been unjustly passed over for Hollywood’s top prize, back in 2003. Interestingly enough, he almost didn’t accept the award, preferring the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to hold off on giving it to him until his eightieth birthday. He wrote, “I am still in the game and might win the bugger outright.”
Earlier this year, O’Toole starred in his final film, Katherine of Alexandria, which has yet to be released. The film was intended to mark his retirement from acting, he announced last year.
Heartfelt tributes have been pouring in from all over the world today. One eulogy came from Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland, where O’Toole was born in 1932. Higgins wrote, “I have heard with great sadness of the passing of Peter O’Toole this weekend. Ireland, and the world, has lost one of the giants of film and theatre.”
Though Lawrence of Arabia will always be remembered as O’Toole’s masterpiece, the actor’s large body of work also includes such classic films such as The Last Emperor, The Lion in Winter and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
Peter O’Toole will always be remembered as one of the greatest actors to ever have graced both the theatre and the silver screen and he will be sorely missed.