Peter O’Toole : An Icon Passes Away


 

English: Cropped screenshot of Peter O'Toole f...

Peter O’Toole in the film Lawrence of Arabia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter James O’Toole

 2 August 1932 – 14 December 2013

 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           December 08, 2018           03.30 P.M. 

 

Peter James O’Tool aka Peter O’Tool was a British stage and film actor of Irish and Scottish descent. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company before making his film debut in 1959.

He achieved international recognition playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which he received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He was nominated for this award another seven times – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man(1980), My Favorite Year (1982), and Venus (2006) – and holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations for acting without a win. In 2002, O’Toole was awarded the Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements. He was additionally the recipient of four Golden Globe Awards, one British Academy Film Award and one Primetime Emmy Award.

Peter O’Tool with Richard Burton in ” BECKET “

I came to know about him in 1973. I was studying in Prayagraj [ then known as Allahabad ] , Uttar Pradesh. A Hindi film ” NAMAK HARAM ” was released in 1973 in Vishwambhar cinema hall. I, along with my friends, went to swatch it. It was huge hit and everyone was praising Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna’s acting. One day I read an article about ” NAMAK HARAM ” in Northern India Patrika, a popular daily of those days. It was written that this film is based on the iconic Hollywood film ” BECKET ” and how Richard Burton and Peter O’Tool were so brilliant. Richard Burton’s role was played by Rajesh Khanna and Peter O’Tool’s role was essayed by Amitabh Bachchan.

Soon ”  Becket ” was re-released in cinema halls and I saw the film. I had already watched many films of Richard Burton but this was my first brush with Peter O’Tool. I was awe-struck. Later on I watched his first film ”  Lawrence of Arabia “. My admiration for his craft grew manifold.

After completing my studies I left Prayagraj [ then named as Allahabad ] , and after spending 15 years in my native town Deoria, I settled in Mumbai [ then know as Bombay ] . Here in 1990 I watched his film ” THE LAST EMPEROR ” ( 1987 ) . One day while roaming around Hutatma Chowk, [ earlier known as Flora Fountain ] , I got his biography in a road side bookstore. After reading it , I became a life-long admirer.

So when I read about his death, I felt a vacuum in my life. Life is cruel. I got to know about Peter O’Tool in 1973. And in December 2013, I was reading his obituary. A relationship of 40 years came to a sudden end.

Movie business will go on. Many stars will come and fade away. But stars like Peter O’Tool are rare. As is the saying, they don’t make people like him any more.

Peter O’Tool in his sunset years

Peter O’Toole will never return to enthrall us by his histrionics in cinema. There will be many great actors but there will never be another Peter O’Tool.

[ Some personal information and nuggets about his career is taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]

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