Lawrence of Arabia star Peter O’Toole dead at 81
Actor Peter O’Toole reportedly retired just shy of his 80th birthday.
Actor Peter O’Toole passed away today. He was 81.
Peter O’Toole has died aged 81, his agent Steve Kenis has confirmed.
The actor, who found fame in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, passed away on Saturday at the Wellington hospital in London following a long illness.
Kenis said: “He was one of a kind in the very best sense and a giant in his field.”
O’Toole had announced that he was retiring from acting last year, saying: that his career had 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,” he said. “So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.”
But despite his announcement, last month it was reported O’Toole had agreed to appear in upcoming historical drama Katherine of Alexandria as palace orator Cornelius Gallus.
He once described acting passionately, saying: “It’s my job, it’s what I do, it’s what I’m on Earth to do and it’s who I am.”
During the course of his nearly 60-year career, the Irish-born actor starred in classic films including Goodbye Mr Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man and My Favourite Year.
The former military man was equally famous for his hellraising antics with fellow actors Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter Finch and Oliver Reed. In the mid-70s the actor was diagnosed with pancreatitis and forced to give up drinking. “If you can’t do something willingly and joyfully, then don’t do it,” he once said. “If you give up drinking, don’t go moaning about it; go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Wilt.”
In a statement released earlier today, O’Toole’s daughter Kate said the family was overwhelmed “by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us.”
Mark Steyn has an interesting take on O’Toole.