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Legendary actor Peter O'Toole dead at 81

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Peter O'Toole, legendary actor most famous for his leading role in film “Lawrence of Arabia,” has died at the age of 81.

Steve Kenis, O’Toole’s agent has confirmed that the legendary British actor passed away on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at Wellington Hospital in London, England after battling a “long illness.”

Born Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole on August 2, 1932 in Connemara Ireland, O’Toole was brought up in England where he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and became a Shakespearean actor after roles in Shakespeare’s plays at the Bristol Old Vic and the English Stage Company.

O’Toole made his film debut in 1956 in a small role as a soldier in TV series “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” followed by a role as “Mario” in 1958 TV movie “The Castiglioni Brothers,” but his claim to stardom didn’t quite arrive until he tackled the heroic role of British Army officer “T.E. Lawrence” in epic “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1962.

He also starred in several other hits including films “What’s New Pussycat” starring opposite Peter Sellers, Romy Schneider and Woody Allen with hit song by same name sung by Tom Jones, “How to Steal a Million” opposite Audrey Hepburn (my favorite), as “General Tanz” in “The Night of the Generals,” “The Lion in Winter” opposite Katherine Hepburn, “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Caligula” and “My Favorite Year,” and even as Pope Paul III in TV series “The Tudors.”

There are some 94 acting credits to Peter O'Toole’s name. Look forward to his role as “Gallus” in 2014 film “Katherine of Alexandria” which has been successfully completed, though O’Toole was also working on his role as “Symeon” in film “Mary,” starring opposite Odeya Rush as “Mary” (mother of Jesus!), Ben Kingsley as King Herod and Julia Ormond as “Elizabeth,” which has a release date of December 2014.

Most remarkably, O'Toole won himself eight Oscar nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role, making himself the most-nominated actor to not win the award! Though O’Toole was finally awarded an honorary award Oscar for his lifetime achievement in 2003.

O’Toole even turned down an offer of knighthood for personal and political reasons.

Peter O'Toole finally got his star on Hollywood Walk of Fame and participated in his very own Hand and Footprints Ceremony, which was presented by the TCM Classic Film Festival at Grauman's Chinese Theater on April 30, 2011.

Though the exact cause of his death is not disclosed, O’Toole was known for his fondness of drinking. The actor was erroneously diagnosed with stomach cancer, although he did have his pancreas and a large portion of his stomach removed in 1976, which resulted in insulin-dependent diabetes. Then In 1978, O’Toole almost died from a blood disorder.

Peter O’Toole is survived by his two daughters, Kate and Patricia, who he had with former wife, Welsh actress Siân Phillips, who he was married to for some 20 years, between 1959 and 1979, and Lorcan Patrick O’Toole, the son he had with model Karen Brown.

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