TCM Honors Peter O’Toole Dec17

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TCM Honors Peter O’Toole

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will pay tribute to Oscar® winner Joan Fontaine and eight-time Oscar® nominee and honorary Academy Award® recipient Peter O’Toole with tributes on Sunday, Dec. 29.

otoole1The Fontaine collection features Blonde Cheat (1938), The Women (1939), Born To Be Bad (1950), Ivanhoe (1952), Fontaine’s Oscar-nominated roles in The Constant Nymph (1943) and Rebecca (1940), and her Oscar-winning performance in Suspicion (1940).

In the evening, TCM will pay tribute to O’Toole with his Oscar-nominated performances in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) and My Favorite Year (1982). Also featured will be a special encore telecast of Peter O’Toole: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival, a one-hour extended interview with TCM host Robert Osborne taped before a live audience at the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival.

Peter O’Toole was born in County Galway, Ireland, and grew up in Leeds, England, the son of a bookmaker father and a Scottish-born nurse mother. After service in the Royal Navy, he became interested in theatre and acting and was accepted by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

O’Toole was in repertory at the Bristol Old Vic for three years. Followed by work at the Royal Court with the other so-called ‘angries’ and then at Stratford playing Shakespeare where, at the age of 27, his ‘Shylock’ was hailed by press and public as the finest of his generation, perhaps even of the century. Prior to Stratford he had played in a film called The Day They Robbed the Bank of England (1960). This film was seen by David Lean’s brother-in-law who told Lean, “I’ve seen the man who could play Lawrence of Arabia.” Lean then telephoned O’Toole in Stratford. They met in London.  Lean offered O’Toole the part of T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. In the first major screen role of O’Toole’s career, the golden-haired, blue-eyed actor made a powerful impact on audiences as the conflicted British liaison officer caught at the center of an Arab revolt. The film also marked O’Toole’s first Oscar nomination.

Over the next 10 years, he would garner a string of nominations for performances in Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968), as well as the musical version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) and the wildly offbeat comedy The Ruling Class (1972).

O’Toole garnered his sixth Oscar nomination as a tyrannical director in The Stunt Man (1980). Two years later, he received a seventh nomination for his funny-yet-touching performance in the nostalgic My Favorite Year (1982), in which he plays a former screen idol brought out of the woodwork to guest-star on a live television comedy show in the 1950s. He went on to appear in a wide range of films, including Bernardo Bertolucci’s Oscar-winning The Last Emperor (1987), the comedy hit King Ralph (1991) and the epic blockbuster Troy (2004).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on O’Toole in 2003. Four years later, he was back at the Oscars with his eighth Best Actor nomination for the May-December romance Venus (2006). He continued to be extremely active, with such credits as Ratatouille (2007), Stardust (2007), Dean Spanley (2008), Christmas Cottage (2008) and the popular television series The Tudors.

Throughout his film career O’Toole also continued his theatre work, averaging a play every two years until his retirement from the stage in 1999.

Peter O’Toole passed away on Dec. 14, 2013, at the age of 81.