Remembering Peter O’Toole

The actor has died at 81 and the Times’ Benedict Nightingale has a nice obit, including this (perhaps self-mythologizing) explanation of how the young Irish boy turned to acting:

Peter was an altar boy at the local Roman Catholic church and displayed a gift for creative writing, but he left school at 13 and became a warehouseman, a messenger, a copy boy, a photographer’s assistant and, eventually, a reporter for The Yorkshire Evening News. A poor journalist by his own admission, he was fired by the editor with the words, “Try something else, be an actor, do anything.”

He also mentions a memorable performance of his as the daffy Lord Emsworth in a film of P.G. Wodehouse’s “Heavy Weather.” Some priceless bits on YouTube.

Quite a distance from his performance of Lawrence of Arabia, something I grew up hearing about but am glad I first encountered as an adult, better able to tune into the ironic contradictions under the epic sweep of the story. And my were his eyes blue.

Lawrence of Arabia One Sheet

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