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Very sad news. Although he was understandably best known for Lawrence of Arabia, his very funny performance as the has-been swashbuckling actor Alan Swann in the 1982 My Favorite Year - with all his considerable charm (and those blue eyes) on ample display - was my personal favorite. A marvelous actor.

Rest in peace, Mr. O'Toole.

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One of my personal favorite male actors. I'm saddened to hear the news.

Wikipedia confirms my suspicion that O’Toole holds the record for most Academy Award acting nominations without a win:

He received 8 Oscar nominations – for Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006).

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The NYT obit:

He showed those strengths somewhat erratically, however; for all his accolades and his box-office success, there was a lingering note of unfulfilled promise in Mr. O’Toole.

He wasn't born the "blond" six-footer mentioned in the article - early photos show a shock of wild dark curls and a very prominent schnoz. He went blond for Lawrence and decided to stay with it.

So sorry he's gone. He was always a favorite of mine. He has been retired for a couple of years, but he still appeared for the occasional witty and charming interview. He survived most of his fellow "hellraisers" handily and in decent enough shape, although I can't say he looked young for his years. If he'd never made another picture he'd have a place in film history with "Lawrence" and he is wonderful in it, the character of his Lawrence cohering even when the Lawrence of the script does not. He had great range. Not every actor can manage Henry II and Mr. Chips.

Favorite O'Toole performances:

Lawrence of Arabia

Country Dance

The Ruling Class

The Stunt Man

Masada

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (with then-wife Sian Phillips contributing a great bit as a wicked lady of the theater )

His Hamlet for the National Theater was a bit of a bust - I think it was Olivier, who directed him, who said he didn't have the stamina - you need to be in shape to do those big thumping classical parts - and his Macbeth was of a legendary awfulness - people were queuing for it just to see how bad it was.

The Guardian obit has this tidbit:

Last month it was reported he had been coaxed out of retirement to act in a film about ancient Rome called Katherine of Alexandria in which he would play Cornelius Gallus, a palace orator. It is believed he completed filming on the project alongside Joss Ackland, Steven Berkoff and Edward Fox and the movie is due to be released next year.

Thanks for posting, MakarovaFan.

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...

Wikipedia confirms my suspicion that O’Toole holds the record for most Academy Award acting nominations without a win:

He received 8 Oscar nominations – for Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006).

O’Toole was given an honorary Oscar a few years ago (after having turned it down several years before). It's hard to believe anyone who turned in that many superb performances was never honored for a specific role, particularly any one of the first three listed.

From his brief and charming acceptance speech:

“Always a bridesmaid and never a bride my foot!”
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Very sad news. Although he was understandably best known for Lawrence of Arabia, his very funny performance as the has-been swashbuckling actor Alan Swann in the 1982 My Favorite Year - with all his considerable charm (and those blue eyes) on ample display - was my personal favorite. A marvelous actor.

Rest in peace, Mr. O'Toole.

That film ran in Seattle for months and months, bolstering the budget of the theater it screened in.

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I hadn't heard that about My Favorite Year, sandik. I do know Seattle and the Guild 45th cinema are said to have played a crucial role in getting The Stunt Man to a wider public (with an assist from William Arnold of the late lamented Seattle Post-Intelligencer). The Stunt Man ran at the Guild 45th for almost a year, proving the picture could draw audiences and attracting studio backing for distribution. Without that boost The Stunt Man might never have made it. That made a big deal to O'Toole as well - the role was his comeback performance after a long period in the doldrums.

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... He could be a tad unpredictable.

Undoubtedly that's why he was so much fun to watch, if a trial for interviewers to control.

Of course for many years he was often drinking heavily. That does tend to contribute to unpredictability, and it may not be especially delightful to deal with, it should be said. O'Toole doesn't seem to have been as obnoxious a lush as some of his fellow "hellraisers," however.

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