||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
Publicity photo for Lawrence of Arabia
|Born||Peter Seamus O'Toole
2 August 1932
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Spouse(s)||Siân Phillips (m. 1959–79)|
|Children||Kate O'Toole (b. 1960)
Lorcan O'Toole, born 17 March 1983
|Academy Honorary Award
|Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
1999 Joan of Arc
|Golden Globe Awards|
|Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
1968 The Lion in Winter
Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1969 Goodbye, Mr. Chips
|Best Actor in a Leading Role
1962 Lawrence of Arabia
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole1 (born 2 August 1932) is an Irish actor of stage and screen.2 O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards - for Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006) - and holds the record for the most Academy Award acting nominations without a win. He has won four Golden Globes, a BAFTA and an Emmy, and was the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award in 2003 for his body of work.
Peter Seamus O'Toole was born in 1932. Some sources give his birthplace as Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, and others as Leeds, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, where he grew up. O'Toole himself is not certain of his birthplace or date, noting in his autobiography that, while he accepts 2 August as his birthdate, he has a birth certificate from each country, with the Irish one giving a June 1932 birthdate.1 O'Toole is the son of Constance Jane Eliot (née Ferguson), a Scottish3 nurse, and Patrick Joseph O'Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player, and racecourse bookmaker.456 When O'Toole was one year old, his family began a five-year tour of major racecourse towns in Northern England. He was brought up as a Catholic.78 O'Toole was evacuated from Leeds early in World War II and went to a Catholic school for seven or eight years, St Joseph's Secondary School, David Street, Holbeck, Leeds, where he was "implored" to become right-handed. “I used to be scared stiff of the nuns: their whole denial of womanhood – the black dresses and the shaving of the hair – was so horrible, so terrifying,” he later commented. “Of course, that's all been stopped. They're sipping gin and tonic in the Dublin pubs now, and a couple of them flashed their pretty ankles at me just the other day.”9
Upon leaving school O'Toole obtained employment as a trainee journalist and photographer on the Yorkshire Evening Post, until he was called up for national service as a signaller in the Royal Navy. As reported in a radio interview in 2006 on NPR, he was asked by an officer whether he had something he had always wanted to do. His reply was that he had always wanted to try being either a poet or an actor. O'Toole attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) from 1952 to 1954 on a scholarship after being rejected by the Abbey Theatre's drama school in Dublin by the director Ernest Blythe, because he couldn't speak Irish. At RADA, he was in the same class as Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Brian Bedford. O'Toole described this as "the most remarkable class the academy ever had, though we weren't reckoned for much at the time. We were all considered dotty."10
O'Toole began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company, before making his television debut in 1954. He first appeared on film in 1959 in a bit part in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England.11 O'Toole's major break came when he was chosen to play T. E. Lawrence in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962), after Marlon Brando proved unavailable and Albert Finney turned down the role.12 His performance was ranked number one in Premiere magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.citation needed The role introduced him to U.S. audiences and earned him the first of his eight nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
O'Toole is one of a handful of actors to be Oscar-nominated for playing the same role in two different films; he played King Henry II in both 1964's Becket and 1968's The Lion in Winter. O'Toole played Hamlet under Laurence Olivier's direction in the premiere production of the Royal National Theatre in 1963. In 1965, he demonstrated his straight-man comedic abilities alongside legendary British comic actor Peter Sellers in the Woody Allen scripted feature comedy What's New Pussycat. He has also appeared in Seán O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock at Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, and fulfilled a lifetime ambition when taking to the stage of the Irish capital's Abbey Theatre in 1970 to perform in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot alongside Donal McCann. In 1980, he received wide critical acclaim for playing the director in the behind-the-scenes film The Stunt Man. He received good reviews as John Tanner in Man and Superman and Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, and won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (1989).citation needed O'Toole was nominated for another Oscar for 1982's My Favorite Year, a light romantic comedy about the behind-the-scenes at a 1950s TV variety-comedy show, much like Your Show of Shows, in which O'Toole plays an ageing swashbuckling film star strongly reminiscent (intentionally) of Errol Flynn.
In 1972, he played both Miguel de Cervantes and his fictional creation Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, the motion picture adaptation of the 1965 smash hit Broadway musical, opposite Sophia Loren. Widely criticised for using mostly non-singing actors and shunned by the public at the time, the film has gone on to become more of a success on videocassette and DVD, though there are those who still find fault with it. O'Toole's singing was dubbed by tenor Simon Gilbert,13 but the other actors sang their own parts. O'Toole and co-star James Coco, who played both Cervantes's manservant and Sancho Panza, both received Golden Globe nominations for their performances. In 1980, O'Toole starred as Tiberius in the Penthouse-funded biographical film Caligula.
O'Toole won an Emmy Award for his role in the 1999 mini-series Joan of Arc. In 2004, O'Toole played King Priam in the summer blockbuster Troy. In 2005, he appeared on television as the older version of legendary 18th century Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova in the BBC drama serial Casanova. O'Toole's role was mainly to frame the drama, telling the story of his life to serving maid Edith (Rose Byrne). The younger Casanova, seen for most of the action, was played by David Tennant, who had to wear contact lenses to match his brown eyes to O'Toole's blue.
He was once again nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Maurice in the 2006 film Venus, directed by Roger Michell, his eighth such nomination. Most recently, O'Toole co-starred in the Pixar animated film Ratatouille, an animated film about a rat with dreams of becoming the greatest chef in Paris, as Anton Ego, a food critic. O'Toole appeared in the second season of Showtime's hit drama series The Tudors, portraying Pope Paul III, who excommunicates King Henry VIII from the church; an act that leads to a showdown between the two men in seven of the ten episodes.
On 10 July 2012, O'Toole released a statement that he was retiring from acting.14
In a BBC Radio interview in January 2007, O'Toole said he had studied women for a very long time, had given it his best try, but knew "nothing." In 1959, he married Welsh actress Siân Phillips, with whom he had two daughters: award-winning actress Kate (b. 1960) and Patricia. Peter and Siân were divorced in 1979. Phillips later revealed in two autobiographies that O'Toole had subjected her to mental cruelty — largely fuelled by drinking — and was subject to bouts of extreme jealousy when she finally left him for a younger lover.15
O'Toole and his girlfriend, model Karen Brown, had a son, Lorcan Patrick O'Toole (born 17 March 1983, when O'Toole was fifty years old). Lorcan, now an actor, was a pupil at Harrow School, boarding at West Acre from 1996.
Severe illness almost ended his life in the late 1970s. Owing to his heavy drinking and a digestive defect from birth, he underwent surgery in 1976 to have his pancreas and a large portion of his stomach removed, which resulted in insulin-dependent diabetes. In 1978, he nearly died from a blood disorder. He eventually recovered and returned to work, notably in The Stunt Man (1980) and My Favorite Year (1982), both of which brought him Academy Award nominations. He also appeared in 1987's much-garlanded The Last Emperor. The late eighties and nineties brought fewer film roles but more work for television as well as the occasional stage performance.
He resided on the Sky Road, just outside Clifden in Connemara in County Galway, Ireland, from 1963, and at the height of his career maintained homes in Dublin, London, and Paris (at The Hotel Ritz, which was where his character supposedly lived in the film How to Steal a Million). Currently, he makes his home solely in London.
He was offered a knighthood in 1987, but turned it down for personal and political reasons.
In an interview with National Public Radio in December 2006, O'Toole revealed that he knows all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets. A self-described romantic, O'Toole regards the sonnets as among the finest collection of English poems, reading them daily. In the film Venus, he recites Sonnet 18, "Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day." O'Toole has written two memoirs. Loitering With Intent: The Child chronicles his childhood in the years leading up to World War II and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1992. His second, Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice, is about his years spent training with a cadre of friends at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. The books have been praised by critics such as Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote: "A cascade of language, a rumbling tumbling riot of words, a pub soliloquy to an invisible but imaginable audience, and the more captivating for it. O'Toole as raconteur is grand company." O'Toole spent parts of 2007 writing his third installment. This book will have (as he described it) "the meat," meaning highlights from his stage and filmmaking career.
O'Toole is a noted fan of rugby union, and used to attend Five Nations matches with friends and fellow rugby fans Richard Harris, Kenneth Griffith, Peter Finch and Richard Burton. (O'Toole, Harris and Burton have a combined 17 Oscar nominations.) He is also a lifelong player, coach and enthusiast of cricket. O'Toole is licensed to teach and coach cricket to children as young as ten.
O'Toole has been interviewed at least three times by Charlie Rose on The Charlie Rose Show. In the 17 January 2007 interview, O'Toole said that Eric Porter was the actor who had most influenced him. He also said that the difference between actors of yesterday and today is that actors of his generation were trained for "theatre, theatre, theatre." He also believes that the challenge for the actor is "to use his imagination to link to his emotion" and that "good parts make good actors." However, in other venues (including the DVD commentary for Becket), O'Toole has also credited Donald Wolfit as being his most important mentor. In an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on 11 January 2007, O'Toole said that the actor he most enjoyed working with was Katharine Hepburn, his close friend; he played Henry II to her Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.
O'Toole is a fan of Sunderland A.F.C., as he told Chris Evans on an episode of TFI Friday, dated Friday, 11 October 1996. The allegiance has lapsed, according to an article at the Salut! Sunderland website.16 Coincidentally, however, the mother of T. E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, was born in Sunderland.
Although he lost faith in organised religion as a teenager, O'Toole has expressed positive sentiments regarding the life of Jesus Christ. In an interview for The New York Times,17 he said 'No one can take Jesus away from me...there’s no doubt there was a historical figure of tremendous importance, with enormous notions. Such as peace.' Earlier in the interview, he announced 'I am a retired Christian'.17 Nevertheless, O'Toole played Samuel in One Night with the King, about Esther, in 2006 and the minor role of Father Christopher in "For Greater Glory: the True Story of Cristiada" in 2012.
O'Toole has been nominated eight times for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, making him the most-nominated actor never to win the award.
In 2003, the Academy honoured him with an Academy Honorary Award for his entire body of work and his lifelong contribution to film.18 O'Toole initially balked about accepting, and wrote the Academy a letter saying that he was "still in the game" and would like more time to "win the lovely bugger outright." The Academy informed him that they would bestow the award whether he wanted it or not. He told The Charlie Rose Show in January 2007 his children admonished him, saying that it was the highest honour one could receive in the filmmaking industry. O'Toole agreed to appear at the ceremony and receive his Honorary Oscar. It was presented to him by Meryl Streep, who has the most Oscar nominations of any actress (17).
- King Lear (1956) (Cornwall)
- The Recruiting Officer (1956) (Bullock)
- Major Barbara (1956) (Peter Shirley)
- Othello (1956) (Lodovico)
- Pygmalion (1957) (Henry Higgins)
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (1957) (Lysander)
- Look Back in Anger (1957) (Jimmy Porter)
- Man and Superman (1958) (Tanner)
- Hamlet (1958) (Hamlet)
- Amphitryon '38 (1958) (Jupiter)
- Waiting for Godot (1957) (Vladimir)
- The Long and the Short and the Tall (Bamforth)
- The Taming of the Shrew (Petruchio)
- The Merchant of Venice (Shylock)
- Troilus and Cressida (Thersites)
- Waiting for Godot (Vladimir)
- Uncle Vanya (Vanya)
- Present Laughter (Gary Essendine)
- Caligula (Tiberius)
- Macbeth (1980) (Macbeth) (Old Vic Theatre)
- Man and Superman (Theatre Royal, Haymarket)
- Pygmalion (Professor Higgins) (Shaftesbury Theatre, 1984, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, and Plymouth Theatre, New York, 1987)
- The Apple Cart (Theatre Royal Haymarket, 1986)
- Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (Apollo Theatre, 1989, Shaftesbury Theatre, 1991 and Old Vic, 1999)
- Our Song (Apollo Theatre, 1992).
- O'Toole, Peter, Loitering With Intent, London: Macmillan London Ltd., 1992, p. 10
- "Peter O'Toole (Irish actor) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. 1932-08-02. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- O'Toole, Peter, Loitering with Intent: Child (Large print edition), Macmillan London Ltd., London, 1992. ISBN 1-85695-051-4; p. 10, "My mother, Constance Jane, had led a troubled and a harsh life. Orphaned early, she had been reared in Scotland and shunted between relatives;..."
- "Peter O'Toole Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- Frank Murphy (31 January 2007). "Peter O'Toole, A winner in waiting". The Irish World. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- "Loitering with Intent Summary - Peter O’Toole - Magill Book Reviews". Enotes.com. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- Tweedie, Neil (24 January 2007). "Too late for an Oscar? No, no, no...". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- Adams, Cindy (21 March 2008). "Veteran says todays's actors aren't trained". New York Post. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- Alan Waldman. "Tribute to Peter O'Toole". films42.com. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- Guy Flatley (24 July 2007). "The Rule of O'Toole". MovieCrazed. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- Glaister, Dan (29 October 2004). "After 42 years, Sharif and O'Toole decide the time is right to get their epic act together again". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- "Peter O’Toole". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- Internet Movie Database: Soundtracks for ‘Man of La Mancha’(1972)
- "Peter O'Toole announces retirement from show biz". CBC.ca. 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
- Nathan Southern (2008). "Peter O'Toole: Overview". Allrovi. MSN Movies. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- Salut! Sunderland (6 December 2011): Peter O’Toole, a hell-raising dad and a lost Sunderland passion
- "Papal Robes, and Deference, Fit O’Toole Snugly". New York Times. 26 July 2007.
- "Peter O'Toole Biography". Yahoo Movies. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Peter O'Toole|
- Peter O'Toole at the Internet Broadway Database
- Peter O'Toole at the Internet Movie Database
- Peter O'Toole at the TCM Movie Database
- Peter O'Toole at Yahoo! Movies
- Peter O'Toole at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- "Peter O'Toole as Casanova"
- University of Bristol Theatre Collection, University of Bristol
- The Making of Lawrence of Arabia, Digitised BAFTA Journal, Winter 1962-3. With additional notes by Bryan Hewitt