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Peter O'Toole is one of Hollywood's most highly regarded actors. He is best known for playing T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia.
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Born in Ireland in 1932, Peter O'Toole is one of Hollywood's most highly regarded actors. O'Toole's rise to stardom began in 1962, when he played T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. He went on to appear in such critically heralded films as Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968), with Richard Burton and Katharine Hepburn,
"My professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort. It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I've shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits."
"I loved the drinking, and waking up in the morning to find I was in Mexico. It was part and parcel of being an idiot."
"I'm not from the working class. I'm from the criminal class."
"It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won't come back."
"When my father would come home from the track after a good day, the whole room would light up; it was fairyland. But when he lost, it was black. In our house, it was always a wake ... or a wedding."
"The time has come to stop roaming. The pirate ship has berthed. I can still make whoopee, but now I do it sober."
"Rather than chronicling events, I wanted to be the event."
[On deciding against pursuing a career in journalism.]
respectively. Later successes include My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006). O'Toole announced his retirement from acting in 2012.
Born on August 2, 1932, in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, legendary actor Peter Seamus O'Toole grew up in Leeds, England. There, his father, Patrick, often worked as a bookmaker. As O'Toole told writer Gay Talese in an interview published in Esquire, "When my father would come home from the track after a good day, the whole room would light up; it was fairyland. But when he lost, it was black. In our house, it was always a wake ... or a wedding."
In his early teens, O'Toole left school and ended up working for the Yorkshire Evening Post. He held several positions at the newspaper before deciding against a life in journalism. "I soon found out that, rather than chronicling events, I wanted to be the event," he said, according to Robert Sellers's book Hellraisers: The Life and Times of Burton, Harris, O'Toole & Reed.
After completing his national service in the Royal Navy, Peter O'Toole won a place at the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His classmates there included Albert Finney and Alan Bates. O'Toole began his career on the stage with the Bristol Old Vic theater. Before long, he established himself as a gifted actor. O'Toole was especially known for his portrayal of the title character in William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
O'Toole made it to the big screen in 1960, playing small roles in the films The Savage Innocents, Kidnapped and The Day They Robbed the Bank of England. Soon after, the actor signed on for one of the most significant parts of his career: He was hired by director Sir David Lean to play the title character in the drama Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Making this critically praised project proved to be a physically and emotionally grueling process, as it took two years to film and was shot in seven different countries. But O'Toole's hard work paid off: He was nominated for an Academy Award (best actor) for his portrayal of T.E. Lawrence in the film. Though he didn't win this honor, the movie took home the Oscar for best picture.
With the success of Lawrence of Arabia, O'Toole became an international film star. He picked up his second Oscar nomination for his turn as King Henry II in Becket (1964), in which Richard Burton played the title role. The following year, O'Toole demonstrated his range as an actor with leading roles in Lord Jim, a drama based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Conrad, and the Woody Allen comedy What's New Pussycat?.
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