Described as one of the most charismatic, unpredictable and eccentric players of his generation, Peter O’Toole has died at the age of 81.
A record eight-time Oscar loser, the actor finally received an honorary Academy award in 2003, for which he made one of the most remarkable acceptance speeches.
“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, my foot! I have my very own Oscar now to be with me till death us do part. I wish the Academy to know that I am as delighted as I am honoured, and I am honoured. The magic of the movies enraptured me when I was a child. As I totter into antiquity, movie magic enraptures me still,” he said.
O’Toole, who grew up in England and began his acting career on the London stage, shot to international fame with his portrayal of Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, one of the most spectacular screen breakthroughs of the post-war years, for which he won his first Oscar nomination.
Throughout a rich career divided between stage and screen, O’Toole gained four Golden Globes, a BAFTA and an Emmy.
Severe illness and alcohol abuse almost ended his life in the late Seventies. O’Toole eventually recovered and made a successful comeback in the 1980s, leaving behind a towering legacy in theatre and cinema.