Considered one of the greatest actors of all time, Peter O’Toole has mesmerized audiences on both stage and screen. His long, storied career has included some of the best movies (and some of the worst) in cinema.
Born on August 2, 1932 in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland (although both date and place have been disputed) to an Irish father and a Scottish mother. After a stint in the Royal Navy, O’Toole attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His RADA classmates included Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Brian Bedford.
After years on the stage and a few forgettable movie roles, Peter O’Toole acheived stardom as T.E. Lawrence in the film Lawrence of Arabia (1962). The film went on to win the Best Picture Academy Award, with O’Toole receiving his first Best Actor Nomination. Two years later, he was nominated again for his role as King Henry II in Becket (1964), and again for the same role in 1968’s A Lion in Winter.
Although known as a dramatic actor, O’Toole proved adept at comedy, with roles in What’s New, Pussycat (1965), How To Steal a Million (1966), and a cameo in the 1967 version of Casino Royale. He even did the occasional musical with Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) and The Man of La Mancha (1972). Critics have been less kind with some of his later roles, he was nominated the Golden Razzie Award for both Supergirl (1984) and Club Paradise (1986).
Modern audiences may know him best for King Ralph (1991), Troy (2004), Ratatouille (2008,in which he voice the character of food critic Anton Ego), and television’s The Tudors, in which he played Pope John III.
Having won four Golden Globes, a BAFTA, and an Emmy, Peter O’Toole holds the record for the most Oscar nominations without a win (eight): Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Becket (1964), A Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982), and Venus (2006).
Many of Peter O’Toole’s feature films are available in DVD. Which is your favorite?