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Summary Article: O'Toole, Peter Seamus
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


♦ Irish actor

Born in Connemara but raised in Leeds, he was a journalist and member of the submarine service, then a student at RADA, before joining the Bristol Old Vic where he made his professional debut in The Matchmaker (1955). He made his film debut in Kidnapped (1959). West End success in The Long and The Short and The Tall (1959) and a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company established his stage reputation, while his performance in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) won him a BAFTA award for Best Actor and made him an international film star. Adept at drama, comedy or musicals, he has tackled many of the great classical roles and is frequently cast as mercurial or eccentric characters. Stage work includes Hamlet (1963, London), Waiting for Godot (1971, Dublin), Uncle Vanya (1978, Toronto) and a critically roasted Macbeth (1980, London). He has been nominated eight times for Academy Awards, and received an Honorary Award in 2003. His films include The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye Mr Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), My Favourite Year (1982), The Last Emperor (1987), Venus (2006) and Ratatouille (2007). He has published two autobiographies, Loitering With Intent: The Child (1992) and The Apprentice (1996).

  • Wapshott, Nicholas, Peter O'Toole: A Biography (1983).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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