Life and Times: Peter O’Toole

Known on the one hand for his starring role in "Lawrence of Arabia," Peter O'Toole was one of the acting world's most charismatic figures. O'Toole died Dec, 12 at age 81.

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Known on the one hand for his starring role in "Lawrence of Arabia," leading tribesmen in daring attacks across the desert wastes, Peter O'Toole was one of the acting world's most charismatic figures.
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O'Toole began his acting career as one of the most exciting young talents on the British stage. His 1955 "Hamlet," at the Bristol Old Vic, was critically acclaimed. Here, O'Toole features in a scene from the 1967 film, "The Night of the Generals."
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International stardom came in David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia." With only a few minor movie roles behind him, O'Toole was unknown to most moviegoers when they first saw him as T.E. Lawrence, the mythic British World War I soldier and scholar who led an Arab rebellion against the Turks.
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His sensitive portrayal of Lawrence's complex character garnered O'Toole his first Oscar nomination. O'Toole was tall, fair and strikingly handsome, and the image of his bright blue eyes peering out of an Arab headdress in Lean's spectacularly photographed desert epic was unforgettable.
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In 1964's "Becket," O'Toole played King Henry II to Richard Burton's Thomas Becket, and won another Oscar nomination. Burton shared O'Toole's fondness for drinking, and their off-set carousing made headlines.nHere, he is seen with actress Audrey Hepburn in a scene from the 1967 film, "How to Steal a Million."
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Four more Oscar nominations followed: in 1968 for "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," in 1971 for "The Ruling Class," in 1980 for "The Stunt Man," and in 1982 for "My Favorite Year." It was almost a quarter-century before he received his eighth and last, for "Venus."
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In this file photo, Peter O'Toole appears backstage without his Oscar after receiving the Academy Award's Honorary Award during the 75th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Sunday March 23, 2003. O'Toole graciously accepted the honorary award, quipping, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, my foot," as he clutched his Oscar statuette.
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Christie Smith
Seamus Peter O'Toole was born Aug. 2, 1932, the son of Irish bookie Patrick "Spats" O'Toole and his wife Constance. There is some question about whether Peter was born in Connemara, Ireland, or in Leeds, northern England, where he grew up.
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O'Toole began his acting career as one of the most exciting young talents on the British stage. His 1955 "Hamlet," at the Bristol Old Vic, was critically acclaimed.
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John Audley
After a teenage foray into journalism at the Yorkshire Evening Post and national military service with the navy, young O'Toole auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and won a scholarship.
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Jodi Hernandez
British actor Peter O'Toole passed away on Saturday Dec. 14, 2013.
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O'Toole divorced Welsh actress Sian Phillips in 1979 after 19 years of marriage. The couple had two daughters, Kate and Pat.
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Good parts were sometimes few and far between, but "I take whatever good part comes along," O'Toole told The Independent on Sunday newspaper in 1990.
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Actors Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif in a scene from the film 'The Rainbow Thief', 1990.
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NBC Bay Area
Peter O'Toole as Murphy sits as Sian Phillips doctors his wound in a scene from the film "Murphy's War," 1971.
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Peter O'Toole And Petula Clark In "Goodbye Mr. Chips."
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Susannah York fights Peter O'Toole who tries to dunk her dress in the bathtub in a scene from the film "Brotherly Love," 1970
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Peter O'Toole and Mariel Hemingway at a cafe in a scene from the film "Creator," 1985
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TCM Classic Film Festival Honors Peter O'Toole at a hand and footprints ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in 2011.
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