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Peter O’Toole’s Long And Frustrating Half-Century Dance With Oscar: “Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride”

Pete Hammond

There is no doubt Peter O’Toole was one of the greatest actors the movies have ever seen.  Since coming intoacademy-awards-oscar-snubs-overlookedjpg-3f9c1ffb7a28120a_large major international stardom with his dazzling turn in Lawrence Of Arabia, O’Toole compiled a group of brilliant performances over the past half century that are second to none. But he also holds another distinction.

Related: ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’s Peter O’Toole Dead At 81

Peter O’Toole, who died this weekend at age 81, was Oscar’s biggest acting loser. Beginning with Lawrence in 1962 through Venus in 2006 he was nominated 8 times, all in the leading actor category, coming up heartbreakingly short every single time.  After going 0-for-7 with 1982′s My Favorite Year, the nominations stopped (even though O’Toole didn’t), and in 2003 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science‘s  Board of Governors finally decided to right a wrong and award an Honorary Oscar to the then-70-year-old O’Toole ”whose remarkable talents have provided cinema history with some of its most memorable characters”.  To the Board’s surprise, particularly for a man who knew the agony of defeat seven times, he became the first person in memory to turn it down by writing a letter to the Academy that said in part, “I am still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright. Would the Academy please defer the honor until I am 80?” Then-Academy President Frank Pierson replied that the award was not for retirement but to celebrate a remarkable career and he pointed out stars like … Read More »

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‘Lawrence Of Arabia’s Peter O’Toole Dead At 81 – 8-Time Oscar Nominee Retired Last Year

By and | Sunday December 15, 2013 @ 10:18am PST

Peter O'Toole deadOscar-nominated actor Peter O’Toole died yesterday, his agent confirmed Sunday. He was 81. Often called the Hamlet of his generation, his death comes only about a year after retiring from a 54-year career in both stage and film highlighted by his turn as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, which won seven Oscars including Best Picture. The beloved actor was nominated for eight Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in his lifetime, including a nod for the Lawrence role that defined his career. In July 2012, he wrote a poignant note to the world, stating, “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. 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. However, it’s my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one’s stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.”

Peter Seamus O’Toole was born on August 2, 1932 in Connemara, Ireland in County Galway. After a stint in the Royal Navy, he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and debuted on television in 1954 before breaking out in Lawrence of Arabia, earning the first of eight career Oscar nods. After that he was nominated 7 more times, including for Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man, and My Favorite Year. He was last nominated for an Oscar in 2007 for the movie Venus. O’Toole also provided the voice of Anton Ego (the hard-nosed food reviewer) in Pixar’s Ratatouille. He was the most nominated actor never to receive an Oscar, but the Academy remedied that by presenting him with an honorary Oscar in 2003.

Related: Peter O’Toole Announces Retirement From Acting: “The Heart Has Gone Out Of Me”

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins memorialized O’Toole in a statement via the actor’s agent, Steve Kenis:

Peter O'Toole dead“I have heard with great sadness of the passing of Peter O’Toole this weekend. Ireland, and the world, has lost one of the giants of film and theatre.

In a long list of leading roles on stage and in film, Peter brought an extraordinary standard to bear as an actor. He had a deep interest in literature and a love of Shakespearean Sonnets in particular.

While he was nominated as Best Actor for an Oscar eight times, and received a special Oscar from his peers, for his contribution to film, he was deeply committed to the stage.

Read More »

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