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Award winning Irish actor Peter O'Toole dead at 81

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Peter O'Toole passed away Saturday at the age of 81. Best known for his role as T.E. Lawrence in 1962 film "Lawrence of Arabia"and for winning three Golden Globe Awards, an Emmy and an honorary Academy Award (he was nominated eight times) during his illustrious sixty year career in show business. O'Toole was also known for his hard living lifestyle of drinking and carousing (which led to him having severe health problems in his later years). Tales of his partying with fellow actors Richard Harris and Richard Burton were the talk of the 60's. His marriage to fellow actress Sian Phillips lasted for almost twenty years before she divorced him. The two had two daughters together along with a son from a relationship O'Toole had with girlfriend Karen Brown.

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Born on August 2, 1932 to parents of Irish descent, Peter O'Toole was educated in Catholic schools at an early age. After graduated from school he worked for the Yorkshire Evening Post as a reporter before joining the Royal Navy. When his enlistment ended, O'Toole attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on a scholarship. It was when he worked at the Old Vic and the English Stage Company that he got noticed as a stage actor who specialized in the works of Shakespeare. He worked in television and played bit parts in films until he received his big break when he starred in the David Lean epic "Lawrence of Arabia" (he won a BAFTA for his role). His next film was another award wining classic "Becket" which earned him the second of eight Academy Award nominations.

O'Toole would be nominated for the films "Goodbye Mr. Chips", "The Lion in Winter", "The Ruling Class", "The Stunt Man", "My Favorite Year" and "Venus". In 1999, he would win an Emmy Award for his role of Bishop Cauchon in the TV movie "Joan of Arc" and an honorary Academy Award in 2003. During the waning years of his career, he briefly "retired" before focusing mainly on TV series and guest starring roles in films. Before he died, he completed two films "Mary" and "Katherine of Alexandria".

But like a lot of actors of his caliber (Michael Caine for example) O'Toole took on whatever roles that were offered to him. This led to him appearing in quite a few "forgettable" films such as "Supergirl", "Creator", "Caligula", "Man Friday", "Club Paradise", "High Spirits", "Phantoms" and "King Ralph". Despite the budget and quality of these productions. O'Toole managed to elevate these films through his screen presence and acting.

Peter O'Toole was an accomplished and amazing actor who took the craft of stage acting to another level and made the transition to the silver screen. He's one of the last of accomplished Shakespearean actors of his generation and will be missed by all who enjoyed his work.

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