|Peter Seamus O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
This past Saturday we lost undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of his generation, Peter O’Toole. The Irish-born stage and screen actor, became an international star in the title role of David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia, died at age 81. He garnered eight Oscar-nominations for unforgetable performances — including the beloved schoolmaster in Goodbye Mr. Chips (1969); two portrayals of King Henry – Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968); an insane aristocrat who thinks he’s Jesus Christ in The Ruling Class (1972); the larger-than-life film director in The Stunt Man (1980); and the flamboyant actor in My Favorite Year. but his “Lawrence” always loomed largest. And yet with the 2006 film Venus, O’Toole surpassed Richard Burton and assumed the dubious distinction of being the most nominated actor never to win a competitive Oscar. When it was first announced that O’Toole would receive an Honorary Oscar in 2002, O’Toole astonished the Academy by turning it down, announcing in a letter to the organization that he was “still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright, would the Academy please defer the honour until I am 80.’” But he did indeed show up at the ceremony the following year, accepting the award from Meryl Streep. “Always a bridesmaid never a bride,” he said with his typical theatrical flair to an adoring crowd, “my very own Oscar now to be with me till death do us part.”
Rest In Peace Peter Seamus O;Toole.
-Myrna E. Duarte