Peter O'Toole

  • Celebrity
  • Birth Name: Peter Seamus O'Toole
  • Birth Place: Connemara, County Galway, Ireland
  • Died: December 14, 2013
  • Profession: Actor
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Biography

This lauded Irish thespian studied at RADA alongside the likes of Albert Finney and his lifelong friend (and frequent drinking partner) Richard Harris before debuting on the London stage. But movies were where blue-eyed stunner O'Toole became a star. With only a few TV and film parts on his résumé, O'Toole won the title role in the 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, though he was not the first choice; myriad actors had turned down the part, including Finney. Yet as writer/adventurer/warrior T.E. Lawrence, O'Toole was magnetic and magnificent, earning his first Academy Award nomination for best actor. For the rest of the decade, he remained a mega movie star, appearing in projects both prestigious (as King Henry II in both Becket and The Lion in Winter, garnering him two more Oscar nods) and popular (the caper How to Steal a Million, the comedy What's New, Pussycat?). He even tackled a musical, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, earning yet another Oscar nomination. But in the '70s, despite a nod for his turn as an insane nobleman in the satire The Ruling Class, O'Toole's hard off-screen life began to catch up with him. Although married to actress Siân Phillips with two children, he was a notorious ladies' man and heavy drinker. His career and health began to suffer, and doctors eventually had to remove parts of his stomach and intestines. O'Toole nearly died, but went on to make a full recovery. In the '80s, after some low-profile projects and a divorce, he made a comeback with a pair of Oscar-nominated turns: a manipulative director in the thriller Stunt Man and a washed-up, alcoholic movie star in the comedy My Favorite Year. While O'Toole continued to work steadily, he often signed on to projects of dubious quality (Supergirl, Club Paradise, King Ralph) seemingly just for the paycheck. In 2003, having been nominated for---but never winning---seven acting Oscars (a record he shared with buddy Richard Burton), he finally took home an honorary statuette. However, O'Toole was initially hesitant to accept it, and wrote a note to the Academy stating that despite his advanced age, he was "still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright." In 2006, he proved that wasn't an empty boast when he was nominated for an eighth Oscar for his work as an elderly actor involved with a teen in Venus. A couple years later, O'Toole accepted a rare recurring TV role, playing Pope Paul III on the second season of Showtime period drama The Tudors; but he continued to remain active on the big screen, which had always been where his talents truly shone---Oscar or no Oscar.

Fast Facts

  • As a teenager, worked for the Yorkshire Evening News and considered a career in journalism.
  • At 19, joined the Navy and spent a few years on a submarine.
  • Classmates at RADA included Albert Finney and lifelong friend Richard Harris. 
  • Made his professional acting debut in 1955 as a member of the Bristol Old Vic company.
  • Published the first part of an intended three-volume memoir, Loitering with Intent: The Child, in 1993; the second part, Loitering with Intent: The Apprentice, was published in 1997.
  • In 2003, became the first person to attempt to turn down an Honorary Oscar, but eventually accepted the award.
  • Nominated for eight acting Oscars without taking home the prize.

Awards

  • 1981, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special: Nominee
  • 2003, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
  • 1969, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1982, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1983, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1963, Golden Globe — New Star of the Year - Actor: Winner
  • 2007, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
  • 1973, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 2000, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
  • 1965, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Winner
  • 1970, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Winner
  • 1982, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
  • 1963, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
  • 1969, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Winner
  • 1981, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: Winner
  • 1962, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1964, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1968, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1972, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1980, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 2006, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 2007, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1965, BAFTA Film Awards — Best British Actor: Nominee
  • 1963, BAFTA Film Awards — Best British Actor: Winner
  • 2006, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1989, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 2007, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Actor: Nominee
  • 2002, Oscar — Honorary Award: Winner

Relationships

  • Lorcan O'Toole — Son
  • Patricia — Sister
  • Siân Phillips — Ex-wife
  • Constance O'Toole — Mother
  • Patricia O'Toole — Daughter
  • Kate O'Toole — Daughter
  • Patrick O'Toole — Father
  • Karen Somerville — Ex-significant Other

College

  • Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, England (1954)

Details

  • Birth Name: Peter Seamus O'Toole
  • Birth Place: Connemara, County Galway, Ireland
  • Died: December 14, 2013
  • Profession: Actor