Monday, December 16, 2013

Actor and Memoirist Peter O’Toole Dead at 81

So very sad to say good-bye to Peter O’Toole, whose piercing blue eyes have haunted movie-goers since he played the title role in Lawrence of Arabia back in 1962.

The Irish-born actor died Saturday after a long illness. He was 81. The Guardian remembers him in a poetic obituary which begins thus:
Katharine Hepburn, his consort in The Lion in Winter (1968), once told Peter O'Toole that he was profligate with his talent as an actor. But perhaps O'Toole's metier was always risk. Even in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), when he was not quite 30, he looked like an elegant wreck, dipped in suntan, his eyes full of fever. O'Toole, who has died aged 81, made his height, his giddy conviction and his theatricality hold that epic together. He was a freed bird in white robes, yet he shuddered like a schoolboy at the thought of torture.
And the Entertainment Weekly blog got downright hyperbolic when they announced that O’Toole, “arguably the most strikingly charismatic, most eerily handsome, most preternaturally gifted actor of his acting generation, died Saturday at a London hospital at age 81.”

The actor was the author of two books. Loitering With Intent: The Child was published in 1992 and chronicles O’Toole’s childhood. It was as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year when it was published. In 1996 he published Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice, which covered his years spent training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. There was talk that O’Toole had been working on another installment in his Loitering series of memoirs a few years ago, and it’s clear there’s a lot of material that wasn’t covered in the first two. Hopefully that material surfaces and we are gifted with Loitering with Intent: The Master. At least.



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