R.I.P. Peter O’Toole

Peter O'Toole

One of the greats is gone.

Peter O’Toole, the eight-time Oscar nominee who starred in Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye Mr. Chips, and a host of other fine films, has passed away.

According to his agent, Steve Kenis, he succumbed in a London hospital on Saturday, following a battle with a long illness.

He was 81 years old.

O’Toole officially announced his retirement from acting in July of 2012.

The following words were offered as his farewell:

“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.”

An esteemed stage actor who made his debut in the 1950s, he achieved instant superstardom with his starring role in David Lean’s 1962 epic, Lawrence of Arabia.

His film career thrived for more than five decades, during which time he continued to work on the stage, as well as on television.

Though O’Toole never won an Oscar for Best Actor, he was awarded an honourary Academy Award in 2003. He initially turned it down, quipping that he still hoped to “win the lovely bugger outright.”

He is survived by his daughters Pate and Kate, and his son Lorcan.

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