After a 50-year career that netted eight Oscar nominations and an honorary one for his impressive body of work, “Lawrence of Arabia” star Peter O’Toole has passed away at the age of 81.
According to his agent Steve Kenis, O’Toole died Saturday (14th) in London following a long illness. The actor had battled a range of health issues during his lifetime, including a misdiagnosis of his stomach cancer in the late ‘70s.
He is survived by two daughters from his marriage to actress Siân Phillips and a son whom he had with ex-girlfriend Karen Brown.
O’Toole first trained to be a newspaperman before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. When he won his career-making role in “Lawrence of Arabia,” he was performing Shakespeare in the playwright’s hometown of Stratford Upon Avon.
His first Oscar nomination came from the desert epic and more nominations followed including two for his portrayal of King Henry II in the dramas “Becket” and “The Lion in Winter” with Katherine Hepburn.
In addition to his successful film career, O’Toole often returned to his stage roots and performed in many notable plays including “Macbeth,” Pygmalion” and “Uncle Vanya.”
The actor frequently talked about his love for the craft, previously telling The Times, “I’m a professional, and I’ll do anything – a poetry reading, television, cinema, anything that allows me to act.”
Though never winning a competitive Oscar despite his eight nominations, O’Toole finally agreed in 2003 to accept an honorary Oscar from the Academy in recognition of his illustrious career.
“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, my foot,” joked O’Toole when presented with the award. “I have my very own Oscar with me now to be with me until death us do part.”