Born: August 02, 1932
Date of Birth: August 2, 1932
Date of Death: December 14, 2013
"For me, life has either been a wake or a wedding."
Born in Connemara, Ireland, Peter O'Toole, the son of a bookie, was raised in Leeds, England. Hoping to become a journalist, O'Toole quit school at the age of 14 and worked his way up from messenger and copy boy to cub reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post. 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, Derek Jacobi, Alan Bates, and Richard Harris.
O'Toole's professional acting career commenced with the Bristol Old Vic company from 1955-58, during which time he also acted on British television. He won great acclaim for his work in the play The Long, the Short and the Tall in 1959, and made his screen debut in Kidnapped (1960). He played secondary roles until 1962, when he was chosen by David Lean to play T.E. Lawrence in Lean's masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia. The part made O'Toole an international superstar. He received a Best Actor Oscar nomination, the first of eight nominations. He followed this triumph by winning his first Golden Globe for Becket (1964). He won two more in the next few years, for The Lion in Winter (1968) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969).
O'Toole was one of the biggest box-office attractions in the late '60s and early '70s, but his career was nearly destroyed by drinking problems. He survived by giving up alcohol and after having serious medical treatment he said, "I still cause mayhem. I'll always love to frolic, but now I can remember what I've done." He soon returned to films with triumphant performances in The Stunt Man (1980) and My Favorite Year (1982). For his performance for the latter film, he received his seventh Best Actor Oscar nomination.
Throughout the '80s and '90s, O'Toole acted in a number of films and television miniseries, notably the 1987 epic The Last Emperor, Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997), and the 1999 made-for-television Joan of Arc, for which he won an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor. In 2003, he received an honorary Oscar, which he was at first reluctant to accept, because he wanted to win one. In 2007, he was given another chance at a Best Actor Oscar for his leading role in Venus (2006).
O'Toole passed away on December 14, 2013 at the age of 81. He leaves behind two daughters, Patricia and Catherine, from his marriage to actress Siân Phillips, a union that lasted from 1959 to 1979, as well as a son, Lorcan, by model Karen Brown.
FilmographyKatherine of Alexandria (2014) The Whole World at Our Feet (2013) For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada (2012)