It was announced this morning that eight time Oscar nominee and star of Lawrence of Arabia star Peter O’Toole died yesterday at London’s Wellington Hospital. The acclaimed actor was 81.
O’Toole announced his retirement from acting, both on stage and in film, in 2012. He’d been a constant presence on the silver screen since 1960, when he co-starred in Disney’s adventure yarn Kidnapped. Two years later, O’Toole appeared in his most famed role as T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, a performance which would bring him his first of an eventual eight Oscar nominations, although he would never win an Academy Award. In 2003 the Academy presented him with a lifetime achievement award, an honor he initially turned down, saying he was “still in the game and might win the bugger outright,” while asking the Academy to delay the presentation until he was 80.
Famously fond of his drink, O’Toole was forced to give up the bottle after alcoholism cost him plenty of good health and several yards of intestinal tract. Though he stopped drinking nearly forty years ago, the unrepentant O’Toole was once quoted as saying, “If you can’t do something willingly and joyfully, then don’t do it. If you give up drinking, don’t go moaning about it; go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Wilt.”
In more recent years, O’Toole appeared as Trojan king Priam in 2004’s Troy, and lent his voice to Pixar’s Ratatouille. His final awards nomination came for his leading role in Venus in 2006.
O’Toole is survived by his daughters, Kate and Pat, and his son, Lorcan.