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Peter O'Toole Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (6) | Trivia (48) | Personal Quotes (29)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 2 August 1932Connemara, County Galway, Ireland
Date of Death 14 December 2013London, England, UK
Birth NamePeter Seamus O'Toole
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A leading man of prodigious talents, Peter O'Toole was raised in Leeds, England, the son of Constance Jane Eliot (Ferguson), a Scottish nurse, and Patrick Joseph O'Toole, an Irish bookie. As a boy, he decided to become a journalist, beginning as a newspaper copy boy. Although he succeeded in becoming a reporter, he discovered the theater and made his stage debut at 17. He served as a radioman in the Royal Navy for two years, then attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where his classmates included Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Richard Harris. He spent several years on-stage at the Bristol Old Vic, then made an inconspicuous film debut in 1960. In 1962, O'Toole was chosen by David Lean to play T.E. Lawrence in Lean's masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia (1962). The part made O'Toole an international superstar. He continued successfully in artistically rich films as well as less artistic but commercially rewarding projects. He received Academy Award nominations (but no Oscar) for seven different films. However, medical problems (originally thought to have been brought on by his drinking but which turned out to be stomach cancer) threatened to destroy his career and life in the 1970s. He survived by giving up alcohol and, after serious medical treatment, returned to films with triumphant performances in The Stunt Man (1980) and My Favorite Year (1982). His youthful beauty lost to time and drink, O'Toole has found meaningful roles increasingly difficult to come by, though he remains one of the greatest actors of his generation. He has two daughters, Pat and Kate O'Toole, from his marriage to actress Siân Phillips. He also has a son, Lorcan O'Toole, by model Karen Brown. He partnered with Jules Buck in "Keep Productions".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (2)

Karen Brown (1983 - ?) (divorced) (1 child)
Siân Phillips (December 1959 - 14 August 1979) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (6)

Frequently plays real life characters
Bold blue eyes
Deep smooth voice
Often plays rebels
Known in his youth for his light brown hair and striking good looks
Roles in Shakespearean adaptations

Trivia (48)

He attended a Catholic school where the nuns beat him to correct his left-handedness.
O'Toole & Karen Brown's son's name is Lorcan O'Toole.
From 1952 to 1954 he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art as a scholarship student.
The title character in the comic strip "Alan Ford", widely popular in Italy, is styled after the physical features of Peter O'Toole
Coaching cricket professionally in London.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#47).
His daughter Kate O'Toole is a well-respected actress in her own right.
Is a supporter of Sunderland football club of the English Premiership.
Father was Irish, mother was Scottish.
He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 for Outstanding Achievement Award for his theatrical career.
Was friends with fellow Irish actor Richard Harris. After Harris died, his family hoped that O'Toole would replace him as Professor Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), but the role went to Michael Gambon instead.
He is only one of four actors to be nominated for an Oscar twice for playing the same role in two separate films. He was nominated as Best Actor for Henry II in Becket (1964) and for Henry II in The Lion in Winter (1968). The others are Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler (1961) and The Color of Money (1986), Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley in Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974)and Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). Furthermore, O'Toole is the only one of these four who was nominated for playing the same character (at two different stages in his life) in two totally different films, neither of which was a sequel or prequel to the other.
Became an Associate Member of RADA.
Both he and his fellow Irish actor (and close friend), the late Richard Harris appeared in versions of 'Gulliver's Travels': Harris played the 1977 film version Gulliver's Travels (1977) and O'Toole played the Emperor of Lilliput in the 1996 TV-film version Gulliver's Travels (1996), where Ted Danson played Gulliver.
Has portrayed three kings, one of them twice (King Henry II in Becket (1964) also in The Lion in Winter (1968)), one of them fictional (Sir/King Cedric Willingham in King Ralph (1991)) and King Priam in Troy (2004), two emperors, one of them real (Emperor Tiberius Caesar in Caligula (1979)) and one of them fictional (Emperor of Lilliput in Gulliver's Travels (1996)), a fictional prince (Prince Meleagre in The Rainbow Thief (1990)), a real president (President Paul von Hindenburg in Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003)), a real Pope (Pope Paul III in The Tudors (2007)) and several lords.
In 1976 he underwent surgery to remove parts of his stomach and intestine, at the time attributed to his heavy drinking, but later disclosed to be stomach cancer. In the following year he almost died from a blood disorder. These two serious illnesses greatly affected his ability to work at that time.
When he was named the recipient of a Special Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2003, he originally intended to turn it down feeling that the lifetime award signaled the end of his career. He wrote the Academy a letter stating that he was "still in the game" and would like more time to "win the lovely bugger outright." It was only after the Academy informed him that they were bestowing the award on him whether he came to collect it or not that he relented.
His performance as "T.E. Lawrence" in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is the #1 ranked performance of all time in Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
The 1976 film adaptation of the book "The Man Who Fell To Earth", directed by Nicolas Roeg, was originally meant to be a vehicle for O'Toole.
His performance as "Alan Swann" in My Favorite Year (1982) is ranked #56 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Nominated 8 times for best actor but has never won an Academy Award. He has more nominations without winning than any other actor.
Cites Rose Byrne and Jodie Whittaker as the best young actresses he has ever worked with.
Was a close friend of late actress Katharine Hepburn. Although some believe his daughter, Kate O'Toole is named after Hepburn, according to Sian Phillips' autobiography they named their daughter after Kate, the title character in Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew". They were inspired by the line in the play "Kate, sweet Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom".
Was originally approached by director Billy Wilder to play "Sherlock Holmes" in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), opposite Peter Sellers as "Dr. Watson". Wilder later decided to go with lesser known stars instead.
While at RADA in the early 1950s he was active in protesting British involvement in the Korean War. Later in the 1960s he was an active opponent of the Vietnam War.
Father of actor Lorcan O'Toole, Kate O'Toole and Pat O'Toole.
A close friend of April Ashley.
Has named Eric Porter as the actor who has influenced him most.
He was almost cast as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964) due to concerns that Rex Harrison was too old for the part, but his salary demands were more than producer Jack L. Warner was willing to pay.
Broke his hip while filming Venus (2006), but returned to work after only three weeks.
It is interesting to note that the DVD of Rogue Male (1977) has a two page biography of Peter O'Toole that at the end reads as follows: Peter O'Toole died in 2003 after a long illness. Whoever entered that erroneous fact must have been very surprised to see Peter show up at the Academy Awards for his nomination in Venus (2006).
Resides in Galway, Ireland and London, England.
Was the original choice to play King Henry VIII in A Man for All Seasons (1966) but Robert Shaw, who went on to receive a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his performance, was cast instead.
His actual date of birth went unrecorded, and O'Toole has said himself that he may have been born in June 1932.
Allegedly declined a knighthood for political reasons in 1987.
Has said that he learned more about acting by working with José Ferrer in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) than in any acting class. Ferrer himself considers that role to be his best. Ironically, Ferrer nearly declined the role he played because it was so small -- roughly five minutes out of a four hour movie.
Won his career-making part in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) after it was turned down by superstar Marlon Brando and a then-unknown Albert Finney. Both director David Lean and producer Sam Spiegel (who produced On the Waterfront (1954), the movie for which Brando and Spiegel won their first Oscars) wanted Brando, but he turned the role down (allegedly saying he didn't want to spend two years of his life riding on a camel). Finney was put through extensive screen-tests costing 100,000 pounds, but refused to sign a seven year contract demanded by Spiegel. O'Toole signed the seven-year contract and got the part.
Is a lifelong cricket and rugby fanatic.
According to his daughter Kate O'Toole, the actor wears green socks every day due to personal superstitions.
He played the first Roman "Emperor Augustus" in Imperium: Augustus (2003), whereas his ex-wife, Siân Phillips, played Augustus' wife, "Livia", in I, Claudius (1976).
Was scheduled to star with Toshirô Mifune in "Will Adams", to be directed by John Huston, with screenplay by Dalton Trumbo and produced by Eugene Frenke and Jules Buck. "A daring adventurer challenges the traditions of a mighty empire".
(July 10, 2012) Announced his retirement from acting.
Chosen by GQ magazine as one of the 50 most stylish men of the past 50 years.
Remained friends with ex-wife Siân Phillips after their divorce.
Appeared in four films with wife Siân Phillips: Becket (1964), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Murphy's War (1971) and Under Milk Wood (1972).
In his later films (from the 1980s onwards) he is frequently seen wearing an Irish Claddagh ring on the third finger of his right hand.
After his death his ashes were brought back to Ireland, where they are held in safe keeping by President Michael D Higgins in his official residence, Áras an Uachtaráin, until he can be laid to rest in the west of Ireland.

Personal Quotes (29)

I can't stand light. I hate weather. My idea of heaven is moving from one smoke-filled room to another.
Noel Coward (to O'Toole): "If you'd been any prettier, it would have been Florence of Arabia".
For me, life has either been a wake or a wedding.
"Always a bridesmaid, never a bride - my foot!" (on receiving a lifetime achievement at the 75th Academy awards March 23, 2003.)
The only exercise I take is walking behind the coffins of friends who took exercise.
The nicest buttocks in the world are in Ireland. Irish women are always carrying water on their heads, and always carrying their husbands home from pubs. Such things are the greatest posture-builders in the world.
For a young actor it was intimidating. But! You look into the eyes and you see actors know actors. It's like playing jazz. You really have to go there with your trumpet and compete.
Books have been written about that so-called renaissance at the Royal Court Theatre. Bollocks. I watched this appalling bunch of strange young men creeping around, talking pompously.
I enjoyed it. The only thing that wasn't enjoyable was in the green room. I said, 'Can I have a drink?' 'We have lemon juice, apple juice, still or sparkling.' I said, 'No, I want a drink. No drink?' I said, 'All right, I'm f**king off. I'll be back.' A man with earphones said, 'No! No!' Eventually this vodka was smuggled in. - On The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003)
[on Ursula Andress] I've had luck with my leading ladies. The real shocker was Ursula Andress, with whom I made What's New Pussycat (1965). She's a bloody sex symbol and all that, and yet she's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. A real mother hen, looking after everybody.
[on Katharine Hepburn] I worship that bloody woman. I've never enjoyed working with anyone so much in my whole life, not even Richard Burton. There were no problems, not a one.
[on Sophia Loren] Sophia is gorgeous, a marvelously put together machine. But she's a grievous card sharp; in Naples, they're born with a pack of cards. Give her a nudge and she's the funniest woman in the world. A helluva woman!
Booze is the most outrageous of drugs, which is why I chose it.
[re his Lord Jim (1965) performance] It was a mistake and I made the mistake because I was conservative and played safe. And that way lies failure. It was a juvenile lead part and I've decided now at 33 that I'll never become another aging juvenile.
If you can't do something willingly and joyfully, then don't do it. If you give up drinking, don't go moaning about it. Go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Will.
The good parts are the people who don't make do. They're the interesting people. Lear doesn't make do.
It's time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films ans stage. The heart for it has gone out of me. It won't come back.
I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony.
I will not be a common man because it is my right to be an uncommon man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony.
I hitched to London on a lorry, looking for adventure. I was dropped at Euston Station and was trying to find a hostel. I passed the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and walked in just to case the joint.
Fornication, madness, murder, drunkenness, shouting, shrieking, leaping polite conversation and the breaking of bones, such jollities constitute acceptable behaviour, but no acting allowed. (his house rules for a New Year's Eve party at his Hampstead home)
Stardom is insidious. It creeps up through the toes. You don't realise what's happening until it reaches your nut. That's when it becomes dangerous.
[I have long been] happy to grasp the hand of misfortune, dissipation, riotous living and violence.
I'm a professional, and I'll do anything - a poetry reading, television, cinema, anything that allows me to act... [And also because] it's what I do for a living and, besides, I've got bookies to keep.
It's kind of a performing art - writing. I can't sit down to write unless I'm dressed. I mean dressed well and comfortably. And I have to be shaved and bathed and then the curtain goes up. And if I'm not in my study by 10 or 10:30, forget it. I can't write a word.
[on Henry II, a king he portrayed in both 'The Lion in Winter' and 'Becket'] I like the man. He interests me. He never lost a battle, and yet he never fought a battle if he could arrange it diplomatically. The last thing he ever wanted was to fight, but when he did, he fought. A man of great wit - funny, a lawgiver - and yet at the same time, frail, human. Now, am I describing me? I don't know. I like to think it is, perhaps, just merely a fabulation but I like to think it.
[about his time serving in the Royal Navy] At that point His Majesty felt it was vital to the security of the nation that I join the armed forces [...] I vomited over every cubic foot of the seven seas.
It's all so political. Keep the director happy. Keep the unit happy. Keep them working well. Because in the end, it's you up there on the screen.
When I got the part I did what every actor does. I looked in the mirror and realised that this is meat, this is what you have to work with.

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