Friday, January 3, 2014

RIP Peter O'Toole - Film Icon

I simply cannot go any further without acknowledging the passing of film icon, Peter O'Toole. O'Toole was one of my favorite actors and starred in one of my favorite films of all time. I must say that I was stunned to learn that so many of my friends didn't know who Peter O'Toole was? Worse yet, they know more about Paul Walker, than Peter O'Toole. I say this, not to diminish Walker as a fellow human being, as everyone has value. You can see my write-up on Paul Walker here. But O'Toole was an actor for 57 years and had done countless films. O'Toole was not just an actor, but AN ACT-OR. He could read the phone book and sound posh. So I am still quite surprised that more people aren't familiar with his films.

O'Toole wasn't just a famous film star, but he was also known for his off screen behavior. O'Toole was a member of the infamous drinking club that consisted of fellow screen legends Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Robert Shaw, and Oliver Reed. There's even a novel about their antics called "Hellraisers." O'Toole was the last surviving member of that clan, probably because he cleaned up his act and got sober. Charlie Sheen referenced them in his "tiger blood" rant a few years ago. But what Peter O'Toole is most famous for is his portrayal of T.E. Lawrence in the masterpiece 'Lawrence of Arabia,' which is one of my favorite films. In my opinion, 'Lawrence of Arabia' is a staple, like milk and bread.  I wouldn't say that I'm a huge fan of older movies, but I've at least seen the basic ones, like 'Gone with the Wind,' 'The Wizard of Oz,' '2001: A Space Odyssey,' and 'Lawrence of Arabia.' 

I will never forget when I first saw 'Lawrence of Arabia' as a child in the 1980s. 'Lawrence of Arabia' was before my time, so I was consigned to watch this cinematic masterpiece on a small 19" television. Despite the size of the screen (I can only imagine how wonderful it was to see on the big screen), I was mesmerized with Peter O'Toole, lost in his magnificent blue eyes. That feeling of awe of Peter O'Toole has never left me. In whatever film I see him in (some good and some not so good i.e. "Supergirl"), I'm still in awe of him. Peter O'Toole is what I would consider to be a movie star. As my Grandma says, "they don't make 'em like that anymore." No Grandma, they really don't.

3 comments:

  1. I agree 110%, he was a class act who made it great to see him on the screen. I think the first film I was introduced to him was "The Stunt Man" (1980)... modern actors, please take note... this is what you want to achieve.

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  2. He was a huge legend. I met him briefly many years ago in England and he had a wry sense of humor.

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  3. I loved him as well. He was great not only in his old classsics, but also in modern films, even when they were flops (Remember how great he was in horrid TROY)! And I remember even his smaller roles in modern projects like in TUDORS.
    December took away three actors I loved - Peter, Paul and Joan Fontaine

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