81 (passed away Dec. 14th, 2013)
Aug. 2nd, 1932
Connemara, County Galway, Ireland
Peter O'Toole's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Peter Seamus O'Toole (/oʊˈtuːl/; August 2, 1932 ~ December 14, 2013) was a British-Irish stage and film actor. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and 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 film debut in 1959.
Born in 1932. Some sources give his birthplace as Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, while others cite St James University Hospital, Leeds, England. O'Toole claimed he was not certain of his birthplace or date, noting in his autobiography that, while he accepted August 2 as his birthdate, he had a birth certificate from each country, with the Irish one giving a June 1932 birth date. O'Toole had an elder sister, Patricia. He grew up in the Hunslet, south Leeds, son of Constance Jane Eliot (née Ferguson), a Scottish nurse, and Patrick Joseph "Spats" O'Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player and racecourse bookmaker. 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
As a boy, 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 17. He served as a radioman in the Royal Navy for two years, then attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), where his classmates included Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Richard Harris. He spent several years on-stage at the Bristol Old Vic, then made an inconspicuous film debut in 1960.
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.
In 1962, O'Toole was chosen by David Lean to play T.E. Lawrence in Lean's masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia (1962). The part made O'Toole an international superstar. 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 remains one of the greatest actors of his generation.
On July 10, 2012, O'Toole released a statement announcing his retirement from acting.
O'Toole married Welsh actress 'Siân Phillips' in (1959), with whom he had two daughters: actress Kate and Patricia. They were divorced in (1979). Phillips later said 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.
O'Toole and his girlfriend, model Karen Brown, had a son, Lorcan Patrick O'Toole (b. March 17 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 O'Toole's life in the late 1970s. His stomach cancer was misdiagnosed as resulting from his alcoholic excess. O'Toole 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, however, and returned to work.
O'Toole died on (December 14, 2013) at Wellington Hospital, London, aged 81. His funeral was held at Golders Green Crematorium in London on December 21, 2013, where he was cremated in a wicker coffin.
O'Toole's remains are planned to be taken to Connemara, Ireland. His daughter Kate said: "We're bringing him home. It's what he would have wanted." They are currently being kept at the residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin, by the President Michael D. Higgins who is an old friend of the actor. His family plan to return to Ireland to fulfill his wishes and take them to the west of Ireland when they can.
On May 18, 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 has a memorial plaque in St Paul's, the Actors' Church in Covent Garden.