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Legendary Actor Peter O'Toole Announces Retirement from Acting

by
July 10, 2012
Source: Playbill

Peter O'Toole

Veteran actorPeter O'Toole, the 79-year-old star of the classic Lawrence of Arabia, announced his retirement today, stepping down from acting after more than fifty years on stage and film. He was nominated for eight Academy Awards during his career but never won, and he's one of the few actors who earned a nomination playing the same character in different films (King Henry II in both Becket and The Lion in Winter). In 2003, the Academy awarded him an Honorary Oscar that celebrated his life's work, and though O'Toole initially refused, still wanting to legitimately win an Oscar himself, he ultimately accepted it.

Playbill (via MSN) has an official statement from the actor, which reads as follows:

Dear All, 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. Ever Peter O’Toole.

O'Toole starred in countless classics from the 60's all the way up through Ratatouille in 2007, and was nominated for Best Actor for his performances in Goodbye, Mr. Chips; The Ruling Class; The Stuntman; and My Favorite Year along with his aforementioned nominations. But the actor will most likely always be best remembered for his work in Lawrence of Arabia, since that's the film that launched him to stardom and took his career to another level entirely. Lawrence occasionally plays around the country in 70mm, and I'd highly recommend experiencing the film on as big a screen as possible if you haven't seen it yet. O'Toole gives a titanic performance, and it's easy to see why he became a star after holding David Lean's three and a half hour epic on his shoulders.

In recent years, he's starred as wise old kings in films like Troy and Stardust, but I can't fault anyone who no longer has a passion for their work making the decision to move on, especially at his age. In addition, his turn in Venus garned a lot of attention as well. Playbill notes that O'Toole will spend his time working on the third volume of his memoirs, and the fact that this guy can fill three full volumes just of memoirs chronicling his experiences in life should be enough to convince anyone of his importance in Hollywood history. We wish him the best and will miss him on the big screen.

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  • bcopes11
    one of the things i've always wanted to do is buy that man a drink, and listen to his stories
  • DAVIDPD
    Nice and honest. Good on you, Mr. O'Toole.
  • son_et_lumiere
    that farewell note is pure class. quite frankly, considering large parts of his life/style, i'm amazed he's made it this far. i was lucky enough to see him on stage; the voice, the poise, the skill - simply commanding. i respect and even admire his choice, which is his alone to make. but as more recent films like Venus showed, cinema is poorer with him out of the picture. enjoy your rest, sir - you've certainly earned it.
    • Scopedog
      "that farewell note is pure class." Agreed. He's a true legend, and he'll be missed (but damn, why am I sounding like he's passed on?).
  • http://www.facebook.com/thehopedkid Have Hope
    Was robbed out of his oscar for Lawrence of Arabia. Very sad to see him quit.
    • Scopedog
      Never knew that he never won for LOA. That is a crime.
      • http://www.facebook.com/matt.peloquin.14 Matt Peloquin
        Gregory Peck won for To Kill a Mockingbird, good call by the Academy considering how much Peck did for Cinema compared to O'Toole (that was sarcasm by the way).
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7YGEVuJ4mM Carpola
    I saw some funny footage of him getting drunk with Spike Milligan, they'd have been a good night out I think. It's good he can retire and doesn't have to keep acting for the money.

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