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The Peter O'Toole Bio

The Peter O'Toole Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Films:

Lawrence of Arabia / The Lion in Winter

Take your pick of any of the Oscar-nominated films. "Lawrence" is virtually all O'Toole. "Lion" is half Kate Hepburn.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Man of La Mancha (Golden Globe-nominated performance as Cervantes/Don Quixote, in the film version of the musical, opposite Sophia Loren and James Coco)
Bright Young Things
Dean Spanley
Murphy's War (opposite his wife, Sian Phillips)
How to Steal A Million
The Oscar-Nominated Performances:
Lawrence of Arabia (T.E. Lawrence. Lost to Gregory Peck in "To Kill A Mockingbird." Won Golden Globe for most promising new actor.)
Becket (Henry II. Lost to Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady." Won Golden Globe.)
The Lion in Winter (Henry II. Lost to Cliff Robertson in "Charly." Won Golden Globe.)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Mr. Chips. Lost to John Wayne in "True Grit." Won Golden Globe.)
The Ruling Class (Jack. Lost to Marlon Brando in "The Godfather." Wasn't nominated for Golden Globe.)
The Stunt Man (The director, Eli Cross. Lost to Robert De Niro in "Raging Bull." Nominated for Golden Globe.)
My Favorite Year (Movie star Alan Swann. Lost to Ben Kingsley in "Gandhi." Lost the Golden Globe to Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie.")
Venus (Lost both the Oscar and the Golden Globe to Forest Whitaker in "Last King of Scotland.")
Blockbusters (other than the Oscar-nominated ones):
The Last Emperor
Man of La Mancha
Lord Jim
The Real Peter O'Toole:
My Favorite Year

Interestingly, every one of his famous roles has self-destructive tendencies. But the guy who supposedly drank himself to near death (his medical problems turned out to be from stomach cancer, but were exacerbated by alcohol) most closely resembles the actor with the same problem. However, the man who could play such enormous characters one after another certainly has to be larger than life himself.
Acting Style:
Arguably the best living actor. Inarguably the best actor to never win a Best Actor Oscar, as well as the finest voice in film. His defining period was the late '60s and early '70s, which saw him in incredibly huge roles practically every year. He's had the bad luck to lose the Oscar many times to even bigger roles – five of which are considered to be five of the greatest performances of all time. Those losses certainly don't diminish O'Toole's unparalleled contribution to modern cinema.
Bits and Quirks:
His voice is one long dance along each word of the script, using every trick of elocution known to man to wrench more beauty in a line than is really there. (Though voice roles are usually not included here, his critic, Anton Ego, in "Ratatouille" was one of its defining charms.) Too many voice quirks to name. His physical quirks are fewer but no less grand. Moving his lanky arms like they aren't attached. Full-bore blue eyes staring. The usual working of the eyebrows. A loose shuffling gait. A slouch of varying degrees. Tilting the head forward and looking up, as if over invisible glasses.
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Great Scenes:
Whew! Each of the nominated films above is rife with not just great scenes, but classic scenes. Here are a few.

Lawrence of Arabia

> Battle scenes, particularly attacking the train and attacking the town from the undefended desert side
> Appearing in the officers hall in his adopted Arabian gear.

The Lion in Winter

> The clever duos with Hepburn are the most fun
> The "bellow back" scene with Timothy Dalton as King Philip
> The ambush by the sons

My Favorite Year

> Passing out in the writers' room
> Riding the horse
> Going live in front of the studio audience – "I'm not an actor, I'm a movie star"

The Ruling Class

> Hanging on the cross
> Revealing his true identity as Jack the Ripper
> The song and dance numbers

Man of La Mancha

> Fighting the windmill
> Defending Sophia Loren against the men
> "Impossible Dream" song to Loren
> Being knighted, and the song "Knight of the Woeful Countenance"
If you like Peter O'Toole You probably didn't like:
Club Paradise
High Spirits
Go to the... Peter O'Toole Bio