The film world lost one of the greats today. Peter O’Toole died quietly in a hospital at the age of 81. The online NPR report describes him as “a bit of a hellraiser” which is probably the nice way to put it. My mother described him as “living hard.” A comment I saw on the NPR report said he’s back with his fellow hellraisers – Richard Burton, Richard Harris, and Peter O’Toole are reunited now and it’s fun to think that they’re out there, somewhere, at a roaring great party celebrating their reunion.
Though O’Toole was one of the greats, he was also one of the great always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride of Academy Awards history. Always the nominee, but never the winner of that coveted statuette. In 2003, the Academy awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Academy showed its sense of humor by having the award presented to him by Meryl Streep, who holds the record for most Oscar nominations.
I’ve had the main theme from LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in my head since I saw the breaking news alert blowing up my social media feeds. That said, the man had an amazing career (and, to the end, one of the most fantastic pairs of blue eyes you’ll ever have the privilege of seeing). There’s the wickedly funny HOW TO STEAL A MILLION that places him as a cat burglar alongside Audrey Hepburn, and then there’s the emotional turmoil of BECKET and THE LION IN WINTER. He also clearly had fun in his recent turn as Pope Paul III in THE TUDORS. I admit, I try to forget that he was in CALIGULA (along with Helen Mirren, I might add). There’s MAN OF LA MANCHA, THE RULING CLASS, THE LAST EMPEROR, RATATOUILLE, and many, many others.
So pour yourself a glass of something fermented and enjoy a few videos I’ve found of one of the greatest actors in film history:
Best. Entrance. Ever.
apologies for the subtitles, but I wanted the whole clip.