Peter O’Toole, star of Lawrence of Arabia, has died in a London hospital at the age of 81, reports The Guardian.
My thoughts are with Peter O'Toole's family and friends. His performance in my favourite film, Lawrence of Arabia, was stunning.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) December 15, 2013
He’ll be remembered by many in Hollywood as much for his roles in classics such as My Favorite Year, Becket and Goodbye Mr. Chips. Not to mention his hell-raising, hard drinking antics.
Here’s what you need to know about this legend who will be sorely missed:
1. He Had Been Sick For Some Time
O’Toole passed away after battling a long illness. Famously, O’Toole defeated stomach cancer in the 1970s and was forced to have much of his intestinal tubing removed. His death was confirmed by his agent, according to the BBC.
2. He Had Retired From Acting
In 2012, the elderly actor announced his retirement from acting. A statement he released at the time read:
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.
3. He Was a Permanent Fixture in the Hollywood Party Scene
Throughout the 1960s, he, along with fellow Irish actor Richard Harris and Welsh star Richard Burton, became synonymous with hard partying and drinking lifestyle.
On one occasion O’Toole said that he went out for a drink in Paris and wound up in Corsica later that night. He once tried to explain some of his behavior to Johnny Carson during an interview in 1978:
4. He Had No Luck at the Academy Awards
He held the record for the most Oscar nominations (eight) without a win. He was awarded an honorary award in 2003, he initially refused the offer saying, “I’m still in the game, I might win the bugger outright.” Some of the winners he lost to include John Wayne, Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro.
"I can't stand light. I hate weather. My idea of heaven is moving from one smoke-filled room to another." Safe travels, Peter O'Toole.
— Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) December 15, 2013
5. He Married Twice
He is survived by his two daughters, Kate and Pat, and son, Lorcan. O’Toole was first married to actress Sian Phillips, and later had his Lorcan, with Karen Brown. Despite being born in Connemara in the west of Ireland, he made his name acting in theater in the English city of Bristol. It was from there that director David Lean noticed him and cast him as TE Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia which launched his career.