Peter O’Toole died over the weekend, apparently after a long illness. He was 81 years old.
I understand he was in damn near everything–and was working right up to the end, it seems–and I know he’s best known for playing the title character in Lawrence of Arabia. But for me, I had the most fun with O’Toole in two roles. One was Alan Swann in My Favorite Year from 1982. It’s criminally underviewed but has him playing a hard-drinking swashbuckling actor (“I’m not an actor, I’m a movie star!”) trying to be kept under control by Mark Linn-Baker. Think of it as a predecessor to Get Him to the Greek.
But the best…the most glorious film was The Lion in Winter. With a script by James Goldman based on his play, and with O’Toole playing Henry II opposite Katharine Hepburn (with Anthony Hopkins and then some guy named Timothy Dalton making his screen debut), it’s pure dialogue joy. And bonus, it’s technically a holiday movie since the plot plays out over Christmas. Here he is with Hepburn. They’re both amazing. (I apologize if you get a godawful Sonic commercial before the actual bit of movie–it’s TCM’s, not mine.)
Thanks for everything, sir. Rest well.