Happy birthday to one of the true heavyweights of stage and screen – Peter O’Toole turns 78 today. O’Toole is not only an exceptional actor, he’s also a true “star” in a way we rarely see anymore. He may have been riffing on Errol Flynn in his brilliant performance in My Favorite Year, but it was clear there was more than a little of himself in Alan Swann too.
O’Toole’s sometimes boozy, seemingly always cheerful, outsized personality and his talk show appearances are as legendary as his performances (remember him riding a camel onto the stage for David Letterman?). Nominated 8 times for the Best Actor Oscar, he’s never won, but did accept an honorary Academy Award for his body of work (which he initially refused). Here’s a snippet from one of those nominated performances, as movie director Eli Cross in Richard Rush’s 1980 film The Stunt Man:
Since attempting to watch Lawrence of Arabia at work seems like a bad idea, and its too early to raise a pint to the old Irishman, why not mark the occasion by reading Gay Talese’s terrific 1963 Esquire profile of O’Toole.
Happy birthday, Peter. Let’s hope we see you up on the silver screen again soon.