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Peter O'Toole

O'Toole, Peter (Peter Seamus O'Toole), 1932–2013, British actor, b. Connemara, Ireland, grad. Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London (1955). A classical stage actor, he appeared (1955–58) with the Bristol Old Vic, debuted in London in 1956, and played a variety of Shakespearean roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Tall, handsome, and charismatic, he made his screen debut in The Savage Innocents (1959) and catapulted to stardom with his portrayal of T. E. Lawrence in David Lean's desert epic Lawrence of Arabia (1962). He was a major star of the 1960s and early 70s, winning praise for performances in motion pictures ranging from historical drama to high comedy. Among his outstanding films are Becket (1964), Lord Jim (1965), The Lion in Winter (1968), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982), The Last Emperor (1987), Fairytale—A True Story (1997), and Venus (2003). He also appeared in a number of television dramas.

See his autobiography (2 vol., 1993–97); biographies by M. Freedland (1982) and N. Wapshott (1983).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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