PETER O'TOOLE Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Peter Seamus O'Toole                                                                 
Born: 2 August 1932                                                                         
Peter Seamus O'Toole (born August 2, 1932)                                                 
is an eight-time Academy Award-nominated Irish actor. He has received three                 
Golden Globes and an Emmy Award. He was also awarded an honorary Oscar for his             
body of work (2003).                                                                       
O'Toole was born in 1932, with some sources giving his birthplace as Connemara,             
County Galway, Ireland, and others as Leeds, in West Yorkshire, England, where             
he also grew up. O'Toole himself is not certain of his birthplace or date,                 
noting in his autobiography that while he accepts August 2 as his birthdate, he             
has conflicting birth certificates in both countries, with the Irish one giving             
a June, 1932 birthdate. O'Toole is the son of Constance Jane (nee Ferguson),               
a Scottish-born nurse, and Patrick Joseph O'Toole, an Irish bookmaker.                     
When O'Toole was one year old, the O'Tooles began a five-year tour of major                 
racetrack towns in northern England. Peter O'Toole went to a Catholic School for           
seven or eight years, where he was "implored" to become right-handed. I used to             
be scared stiff of the nuns: their whole denial of womanhood the black dresses             
and the shaving of the hair was so horrible, so terrifying, he later commented.             
“Of course, that's all been stopped. They're sipping gin and tonic in the Dublin         
pubs now, and a couple of them flashed their pretty ankles at me just the other             
day. O'Toole later took pride in his Irish ancestry, even to the point of                   
apparently always wearing at least one item of green clothing - usually his                 
O'Toole was called up for National Service in Britain and served as a radioman             
in the Royal Navy. As reported in a radio interview in 2006 on NPR, he was asked           
by an officer whether he had something he'd always wanted to do. His reply was             
that he'd always wanted to try being either a poet or an actor. O'Toole attended           
the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) (1952-1954) on a scholarship after                 
being rejected by the Abbey Theatre's Drama School in Dublin by the then                   
director Ernest Blythe, because he couldn't speak Irish. At RADA, he was in the             
same class as Albert Finney, Richard Harris, Alan Bates and Brian Bedford. O'Toole         
described this as "the most remarkable class the academy ever had, though we               
weren't reckoned for much at the time. We were all considered dotty".                       
He began getting work in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean               
actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company, before making             
his television debut in 1954 and a very minor film debut in 1959. O'Toole's                 
major break came when he was chosen to play T.E. Lawrence in David Lean's                   
Lawrence of Arabia (1962), after Marlon Brando proved unavailable and Albert               
Finney turned down the role. His performance was ranked number one in Premiere             
magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. The role                     
introduced him to U.S. audiences and earned him the first of his eight                     
nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor.                                           
O'Toole is also one of a handful of actors to be Oscar-nominated for playing the           
same role in two different films; he played King Henry II in both 1964's Becket             
and 1968's The Lion in Winter. O'Toole played Hamlet under Laurence Olivier's               
direction in the premiere production of the Royal National Theatre in 1963. He             
has also appeared in Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock at Gaiety Theatre,                 
Dublin, fulfilling a lifetime ambition when taking to the stage of the Irish               
capital's Abbey Theatre in 1970 to play in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett,             
alongside the stage actor Donal McCann. His 1980 performance as Macbeth is often           
considered one of the greatest disasters in theatre history, but he has redeemed           
his theatrical reputation with his performances as John Tanner in Man and                   
Superman and Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, and won a Laurence Olivier Award for               
his performance in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (1989).                                       
In 2005, he appeared on television as the older version of legendary 18th                   
century Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova in the BBC drama serial Casanova. O'Toole's     
role was mainly to frame the drama, telling the story of his life to serving               
maid Edith (Rose Byrne). The younger Casanova seen for most of the action was               
played by David Tennant, who had to wear contact lenses to match his brown eyes             
to O'Toole's blue. O'Toole won an Emmy Award for his role in the 1999 mini-series           
Joan of Arc.                                                                               
In 2004, O'Toole played King Priam in the summer blockbuster Troy. He was once             
again nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Maurice in           
the 2006 film Venus, directed by Roger Michell, his eighth such nomination. Most           
recently, O'Toole co-stars in the Pixar animated film, Ratatouille, an animated             
film about a rat with dreams of becoming the greatest chef in Paris. Jeffrey M.             
Anderson of Combustible Celluloid praised O'Toole's performance in Ratatouille,             
"Peter O'Toole's performance as the critic Anton Ego is worthy of another Oscar             
O'Toole has recently joined the cast of Showtime's hit drama series The Tudors.             
He will portray Pope Paul III. Season 2 of the series is scheduled to air in               
March of 2008.