Peter O'Toole Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (8)  | Trivia (101)  | Personal Quotes (29)  | Salary (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Hunslet, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, UK
Died in London, England, UK  (stomach cancer)
Birth NamePeter James O'Toole
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A leading man of prodigious talents, Peter O'Toole was raised in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, the son of Constance Jane Eliot (Ferguson), a Scottish nurse, and Patrick Joseph O'Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player and racecourse bookmaker. Upon leaving school, 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 age 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.

O'Toole spent several years on-stage at the Bristol Old Vic, then made an inconspicuous film debut in the Disney classic Kidnapped (1960). In 1962, he was chosen by David Lean to play T.E. Lawrence in Lean's epic drama Lawrence of Arabia (1962). The role made O'Toole an international superstar and received him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In 1963, he played Hamlet under Laurence Olivier's direction in the premiere production of the Royal National Theater. 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 remained one of the greatest actors of his generation. He had two daughters, Pat and Kate O'Toole, from his marriage to actress Siân Phillips. He also had a son, Lorcan O'Toole, by model Karen Brown.

On December 14, 2013, Peter O'Toole died at age 81 in London, England.

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

Spouse (1)

Siân Phillips (December 1959 - 14 August 1979) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (8)

Frequently played real life characters
Bold blue eyes
Deep, melodic voice
Often played rebels
Known in his youth for his dark brown curly hair and striking good looks
Roles in Shakespearean adaptations
His mixed English-Irish accent
On older talk shows (when smoking was permitted), frequently seen with a cigarette holder.

Trivia (101)

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, was styled after the physical features of O'Toole.
Coaching cricket professionally in London. [1997]
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#47). [1995]
His daughter Kate O'Toole is a well-respected actress in her own right.
Was 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 was only one of six performers to be nominated for an Oscar twice for playing the same role in two separate films. He was nominated as Henry II in Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968). The other five are 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), Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler (1961) and The Color of Money (1986), Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in Rocky (1976) and Creed (2015). Furthermore, O'Toole was the only one of these six who was nominated for playing the same character (at two different stages in his life) in films that were not a prequel or sequel 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.
He 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 Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) 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.
He was nominated eight times for the Academy Award for Best Actor, but never won. He had more nominations without winning than any other actor.
Cited Rose Byrne and Jodie Whittaker as the best young actresses he had 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.
Was a close friend of April Ashley.
He named Eric Porter as the actor who 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 (1976) 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 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) for his nomination in Venus (2006).
At the time of his death, he resided 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 had said himself that he may have been born in June 1932.
Allegedly declined a knighthood for political reasons in 1987.
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.
Was a lifelong cricket and rugby fanatic.
According to his daughter Kate O'Toole, the actor wore 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.
He appeared in four films with his ex-wife Siân Phillips: Becket (1964), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Murphy's War (1971) and Under Milk Wood (1971).
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.
He appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and The Last Emperor (1987).
He was offered the role of Grigori Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) but he turned it down. Tom Baker was eventually cast.
Was one of 13 actors to have received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of a real-life king. The others in chronological order are Charles Laughton for The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933), Robert Morley for Marie Antoinette (1938), Basil Rathbone for If I Were King (1938), Laurence Olivier for Henry V (1944) and Richard III (1955), José Ferrer for Joan of Arc (1948), Yul Brynner for The King and I (1956), John Gielgud for Becket (1964), Robert Shaw for A Man for All Seasons (1966), Richard Burton for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), Kenneth Branagh for Henry V (1989), Nigel Hawthorne for The Madness of King George (1994), and Colin Firth for The King's Speech (2010).
Although O'Toole always claimed to have been born in Ireland, the birth records show he was actually born in Leeds in England. There is no record of any Peter O'Toole being born in Ireland in 1932. O'Toole's parents had lived in Leeds since 1930.
The Leeds City Council register of births, deaths and marriages proved that the man who went through life proudly purporting to be an Irishman was in fact a Yorkshireman, born at the famous St James University Hospital in Leeds, on 2 August 1932.
Could play the bagpipes and during his youth was a member of an Irish pipe band. He is seen playing the pipes in two of his films: Kidnapped (1960) and Brotherly Love (1970).
His middle name was actually James, although he often used the Irish version Seamus.
Although he played John Standing and Edward Fox's father in Gulliver's Travels (1996), he was only two years older than Standing and less than five years older than Fox in real life.
He was considered for Richard Burton's roles in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Anne of the Thousand Days (1969).
He was originally considered for Dean Martin's role in Something Big (1971).
He turned down the role of Michael in Ryan's Daughter (1970). The role went to John Mills, who won an Oscar for his role. He was also considered for the role of Major Randolph Doryan that went to Christopher Jones.
He was considered to play Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant (1975).
He was considered to play Lancelot in Camelot (1967). The role went to Franco Nero.
He was considered for the role of Charlie Venner in Straw Dogs (1971) that went to Del Henney.
He was supposed to reprise his stage role in Jungle Fighters (1961), but lost out to Laurence Harvey because the studio wanted a name actor.
He turned down the lead role in Doctor Zhivago (1965), unwilling to work with David Lean again after his experience in Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
He tested for Montgomery Clift's role in Suddenly, Last Summer (1959). It went so badly that Sam Spiegel almost didn't cast him in Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
He was considered for Cyril Cusack's role in Fahrenheit 451 (1966).
He was Billy Wilder's first choice to play Sherlock Holmes in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970).
He was Harry Saltzman's first choice for Albert Finney's breakthrough role in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960).
He was considered for Rod Taylor's role in Young Cassidy (1965).
He was Sam Spiegel's first choice for James Fox's role in The Chase (1966).
He was considered for Richard Harris' role in Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).
He was considered to play Fagin in Oliver! (1968).
He was considered for Sean Connery's roles in Marnie (1964), Highlander (1986) and The Name of the Rose (1986).
He was considered for Stanley Baker's role in Chance Meeting (1959).
He was seriously considered to play Marc Anthony in Cleopatra (1963).
He was considered for the lead role in Doctor Dolittle (1967).
He disliked Troy (2004), to the point of walking out the finished film after minutes. He also disliked Wolfgang Petersen.
He was originally considered for the role of Richard Helms in Nixon (1995) that went to Sam Waterston.
He was approached to play Dillinger/Sark in TRON (1982), but after reading the script he became very interested in playing Tron.
He was considered for the role of Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween (1978).
He was originally announced to star in Killing 'em Softly (1982).
He was originally considered for Freddie Jones' role in Married 2 Malcolm (2000).
The family of the late Richard Harris asked him to replace Harris as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films. Although flattered, he declined, citing weariness at such a commitment. His age also meant that he couldn't get insurance.
He was originally considered for Michael Caine's role in X, Y and Zee (1972).
He was considered to play the Eighth Doctor in Doctor Who (1996). He was also considered for Borusa and was enthusiastic about it before the character was dropped from the script.
He turned down Timothy Dalton's role in Sextette (1977).
O'Toole played rugby league as a child in Leeds and was also a rugby union fan, attending Five Nations matches with friends and fellow rugby fans Richard Harris, Kenneth Griffith, Peter Finch and Richard Burton. He was also a lifelong player, coach and enthusiast of cricket and a fan of Sunderland A.F.C.
He was originally announced for Jeremy Kemp's part in Angels and Insects (1995).
He was Terry Gilliam's original choice for the lead role in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).
On 18 May 2014, a new prize was launched in memory of Peter O'Toole at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School; this includes an annual award given to two young actors from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, including a professional contract at Bristol Old Vic Theatre.
He was originally cast as Sherlock Holmes in Murder by Decree (1979) opposite Laurence Olivier as Doctor Watson. This fell through when the two didn't get on.
He was originally cast as Torquemada in The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), but dropped out. Lance Henriksen replaced him.
He turned down the role of Judas Iscariot in Jesus of Nazareth (1977) due to ill health. The role went to Ian McShane.
He was considered for Tommy Lee Jones' role in JFK (1991).
While studying at RADA in the early 1950s, O'Toole was active in protesting against British involvement in the Korean War. Later, in the 1960s, he was an active opponent of the Vietnam War. He played a role in the creation of the current form of the well-known folksong "Carrickfergus" which he related to Dominic Behan, who put it in print and made a recording in the mid-1960s.
He was considered for James Fox's role in A Passage to India (1984).
He went to America with Omar Sharif for the film premiere of Lawrence of Arabia. The night before the opening Peter took Omar to see Lenny Bruce in a show after which they went back stage to see Lenny then all went out for drinks. After a while Lenny said he had to go home for a few minutes so they accompanied him. As Lenny was giving himself a drug injection the police broke in and arrested them all. At the police station Omar asked to make a phone call and rang producer Sam Spiegel who eventually got them released.
According to Richard Benjamin, Peter O'Toole received training in music hall, essentially the British equivalent of vaudeville.
Starred in four Oscar Best Picture nominees: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968) and The Last Emperor (1987). Lawrence of Arabia and The Last Emperor both won. He was also nominated for Best Actor for his performances in the first three of these.
Only saw his ex-wife, Siân Phillips once after their divorce in 1979.
In 2005, Kevin Quarmby, an actor who later trained as a Shakespeare scholar, published a detailed account of the 1980 Old Vic production of Macbeth and O'Toole's eccentric behavior in the lead role.
Although he identified as Irish, he was born in England and his mother was a Scot.

Personal Quotes (29)

I can't stand light. I hate weather. My idea of heaven is moving from one smoke-filled room to another.
Noël 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.
[on receiving a lifetime achievement at The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003)] Always a bridesmaid, never a bride - my foot!
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 Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968)] 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.

Salary (3)

Kidnapped (1960) £175
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) £125,000
Under Milk Wood (1971) £10,000

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