HFPA 1981

Peter O’Toole (1932-2013)

Irish-born stage and screen actor Peter O’Toole, who became an international star in the title role of David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday at age 81. One of the greatest actors of his generation he racked up eight Oscar-nominations, without ever winning a prize (he finally received an Honorary Oscar in 2002).

In a career that spanned six decades, on the other hand, he was nominated for 11 Golden Globes winning 4 (Lawrence of Arabia,1963; Becket, 1965; The Lion in Winter, 1969; Goodbye Mr. Chips, 1970).

The HFPA had the privilege of meeting with O’Toole on many occasions including in 2004 the year he portrayed the Trojan king Priam in Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy. This is what he said then about Homer’s work.

"It’s full of Lust. Its full of love. Its full of magic. It’s drama. It’s the reason that we’re actors. It’s the reason we’re filmmakers. It’s the reason we’re painters and musicians. It’s the beginning of our Western civilization. It’s the beginning of human consciousness being described. It’s a look, a very strong, beautiful look at the human predicament and consciousness. We’re aware of what we’re doing and yet we continue to do it, be it good or bad o evil, or whatever. This is a great hymn to the..Humankind".

His last meeting with us took place two years later, in 2006, for his film Venus, this is what he had to say then about his lifelong devotion to his profession.

"It is a joy, it has been a joy since I began…since I managed to get over my clumsiness and my diffidence and my uncertainty when I was a young fellow. When I first began to believe that I could act, which is when I was in repertory when I was a young man…and the joy increases when I’m lucky enough to be invited to be in something fine; then I’m there like a shot."

Luca Celada