Reports surfaced today that actor Peter O’Toole, aged 81, has died. It was announced the actor passed away peacefully on Saturday in London after a long illness, revealed Steve Kenis who was O’Toole’s agent. The highly praised leading man had beaten stomach cancer in the 1970’s. It was just last year, O’Toole had announced his intention to retire from acting.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins released a statement stating, Ireland and the entire world had lost one of the giants of film and theater.
O’Toole had his first major film success with the main role in Lawrence of Arabia back in 1962. The movie earned him the first of eight Academy Award nominations, yet he would never win an Oscar for any of his work in film.
He was born in Ireland and then brought up in England. His acting career started on stage in England while he was a teenager. He accepted television roles in the 1950’s and thereafter, he hit the big screen.
His daughter, Kate O’Toole stated that her father’s family is extremely appreciative and “completely overcome by the outpouring of love and affection being shown toward him and to all of us, during this sad time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
O’Toole had been ill for quite a while, his daughter explained.
She added that in time there would be a memorial service which would have both song and good cheer, just as O’Toole would had wanted. The family will determine when to speak in depth regarding the passing of O’Toole, but in the meantime, the family is asking for quiet time to mourn and bury their loved one.
By O’Toole’s portraying Lawrence, it sent him to major stardom. That role was followed in 1964 by the role of King Henry II in the film Becket, where he starred with Richard Burton. Both men earned nominations for best actor Oscar for the film, however each man lost.
This pattern of receiving Oscar nominations, but never winning a statuette, for O’Toole is unrivaled. He was also nominated but not chosen for best actor Academy Awards for The Lion in Winter in 1968, Goodbye, Mr. Chips in 1969, The Ruling Class in 1972, The Stunt Man in 1980, My Favorite Year in 1982 and Venus in 2006.
O’Toole was given an honorary Oscar by Meryl Streep during the Academy Awards in 2003.
O’Toole enjoyed one of the most fascinating screen debuts in film history. He was basically unknown when he took on the role of T.E. Lawrence in the epic story of a World War I soldier. He only got the role because Marlon Brando ended up having a scheduling conflict. However, he became an overnight success due to it but was never able to equal such preliminary achievement.
Many of his last roles ended up being supporting actor named titles. For the younger generation, he was best known for voicing the character of arrogant food critic, Anton Ego, in 2007′s Ratatouille.
O’Toole went through a rough marriage with actress Sian Phillips. They ended up divorcing in 1979.
Peter O’Toole is survived by his daughters, Pat and Kate and son, Lorcan.
By Kimberly Ruble