Green Room

Peter O’Toole, RIP

posted at 8:06 pm on December 15, 2013 by

And for that matter, RIP Tom Laughlin, too, the star of the Billy Jack films, which no one would confuse with High Art, but which have a cachet all their own.  Mike Huckabee and I discussed the man-card value of Billy Jack a few years ago.

Peter O’Toole was one of the greats of the cinema and stage, offering memorable roles for decades — Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year, The Stunt Man, to his recent role in For Greater Glory, which told the story of the Mexican government’s war on the Catholic Church nearly a century ago.  He has at least one film in the can, Katherine of Alexander, and perhaps another in Mary, although it’s not clear whether any filming has taken place in that production yet.

My good friend Scott Johnson cites My Favorite Year as his O’Toole favorite, and it’s a delicious satire on Hollywood, television, and “heroes” of the screen who have feet of clay, and maybe a little heroism down deep. But for my money, O’Toole at his best  comes in The Lion in Winter. O’Toole stars as the beleaguered Henry II, post-Becket murder, in what is arguably the worst family Christmas in cinematic history. O’Toole excels and stands out in this role, despite being surrounded with top-drawer talent.  Katherine Hepburn plays Eleanor of Acquitaine, and his sons are portrayed by Anthony Hopkins (Richard), John Castle (Geoffrey), and Excalibur’s Nigel Terry (John). A very young Timothy Dalton plays the French prince Philip II.  The entire film revolves around the love-hate relationship between Henry and Eleanor, with their sons used as pawns. 

It’s an ensemble tour de force, but O’Toole owns the role in a way that forces anyone else attempting to portray Henry to measure himself against O’Toole. (Incidentally, the same is true of Paul Scofield’s performance as Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, which debuted two years prior to The Lion in Winter.) That, to me, is the best O’Toole we ever saw — although we saw a great deal of great O’Toole over the decades.

And with all of that, how many Oscars did this great actor receive from his colleagues across a 57-year career? None, except for a consolation “honorary” Oscar, despite eight nominations. Peter O’Toole and his body of work got the last laugh anyway.

 

 

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Shame he didn’t win that Oscar a few years back…

bmmg39 on December 15, 2013 at 8:23 PM

My favorite O’Toole: The Ruling Class. Exquisite!

BJ* on December 15, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Indeed, Peter O’Toole was a fine actor. He was nominated for Oscars on a number of occasions, but the only one to his credit was an honorary award in 2002 that he grudgingly accepted feeling that his career was not quite over yet.

For any young readers who have never seen Lawrence of Arabia, I’d recommend renting it from Netflix and watching on a cold winter day when you have 4 hours to spare. It will be time well spent. R.I.P. sir.

simkeith on December 15, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Well, its a trifecta today, hmmmmm………….

Billy Jack
2h
Tom Laughlin, star of ‘Billy Jack’ films and presidential candidate, dies at age 82 – @latimes
read more on latimes.com
========================

obituaries
8m
Joan Fontaine, actress who won Oscar for Hitchcock’s ‘Suspicion,’ dies at 96 – @latimes
read more on latimes.com

canopfor on December 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Movie:
======

Lawrence of Arabia part 1
*************************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ33gYBFDnE

Lawrence of Arabia : part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqWHiLI_3AM

canopfor on December 15, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Joan Fontaine (Alfred Hitchcock film “Rebecca” lead, and sister of Olivia deHaviland, the only living cast member of “Gone With The WInd”) died today as well at age 96.

Marcus on December 15, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Lion in Winter, my personal favorite. Probably the best screenplay with the best dialogue ever written, and written for the two greats of their time, O’Toole and Hepburn.

For comedy, nothing beats My Favorite Year.

Thomas More on December 15, 2013 at 9:17 PM

My favorite O’Toole: The Ruling Class. Exquisite!

BJ* on December 15, 2013 at 8:52 PM

BJ*:)
=====

The Ruling Class (1972)
***********************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dgosa7wkfY

canopfor on December 15, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Creator.

CurtZHP on December 15, 2013 at 10:01 PM

For any young readers who have never seen Lawrence of Arabia, I’d recommend renting it from Netflix and watching on a cold winter day when you have 4 hours to spare. It will be time well spent. R.I.P. sir.

simkeith on December 15, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Finished watching that – the picture on the 50th anniversary Blu-Ray is stunning – and am about to finish the 3-hour long Becket (he’s about to get murdered) and The Lion In Winter is next up. “What shall we hang, the Holly or each other?” Forget the Obamacare discussions around the holiday dinner table – that’s nothing compared to this family. Although the play itself is fiction, the political background and family relationships are portrayed very accurately.

Alia on December 15, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Goodbye, Mr. Chips, you left a fine body of work for the ages.

Billy Jack films, which no one would confuse with High Art

Could be, though – depending on what you were smokin’ when you first saw it back in the day. Then everything was high art.

Best “Billy Jack” scene:
Billy Jack classic face kick whopping scene

whatcat on December 15, 2013 at 10:19 PM

One of my few celebrity crushes. Dang.

RushBaby on December 15, 2013 at 10:20 PM

I never viewed any of Peter O’Toole’s classic movies.

The first time I remember seeing him was in the mini-series Masada. Then several years later, King Ralph.

That’s all, but he is GREAT in both of those.

listens2glenn on December 15, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Best “Billy Jack” scene:

Billy Jack classic face kick whopping scene

whatcat on December 15, 2013 at 10:19 PM

.
Aw yeah ….. : )

listens2glenn on December 15, 2013 at 10:41 PM

I see another classic film star left us:
Legendary Actress Joan Fontaine Dies at 96

whatcat on December 15, 2013 at 10:53 PM

‘My Favorite Year’, ‘Creator’, ‘Lion In Winter’, ‘Becket’.
All brilliant.
My parents favorite was ‘The Stuntman’.
RIP, Mr. O’Toole.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 15, 2013 at 10:53 PM

whatcat on December 15, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Her older sister-Olivia DeHaviland-still lives.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 15, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

So many good movies.

Othniel on December 15, 2013 at 10:55 PM

Her older sister-Olivia DeHaviland-still lives.
annoyinglittletwerp on December 15, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Yup, there’s still a few connections to when movies were movies around.

whatcat on December 15, 2013 at 11:01 PM

There is nothing like seeing Peter O’Toole as an SS general in a tank rolling through Warsaw in The Night of the Generals. It was made in the 60s and it had to freak the Poles out.

Blake on December 16, 2013 at 4:52 AM

canopfor on December 15, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always liked that scene when he returns from the desert with that subordinate, walks through a sea of British officers in some kind of an officers’ club, and orders two glasses of lemonade “with ice.” I’ve always wondered whether it was the basis for a TEEM ad campaign about building your thirst up until you can’t take it anymore and blowing it away with TEEM.

BuckeyeSam on December 16, 2013 at 6:35 AM

Favorite Peter O’Toole is Lord Jim. Favorite Joan Fontaine, You Gotta Stay Happy with Jimmy Stewart and Eddie Albert.

Deano1952 on December 16, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Tom Laughlin, too, the star of the Billy Jack films

Films, plural? There was more than one?

Kafir on December 16, 2013 at 8:11 AM

I believe it was Peter O’Toole who once said.”When I win some acting award I’m a British actor,when I am drunk,I’m an Irish actor.”

celtic warrior on December 16, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Tom Laughlin, too, the star of the Billy Jack films

Films, plural? There was more than one?

Kafir on December 16, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Yup.

whatcat on December 16, 2013 at 8:24 AM

His greatest role was alongside John Gielgud in Caligula. Why doesn’t anyone ever mention that? (Heh.)

SteveThomas on December 16, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always liked that scene when he returns from the desert with that subordinate, walks through a sea of British officers in some kind of an officers’ club, and orders two glasses of lemonade “with ice.” I’ve always wondered whether it was the basis for a TEEM ad campaign about building your thirst up until you can’t take it anymore and blowing it away with TEEM.

BuckeyeSam on December 16, 2013 at 6:35 AM

..you mean this one?

“..he likes your lemonade.”

The War Planner on December 16, 2013 at 10:27 AM

..you mean this one?

“..he likes your lemonade.”

The War Planner on December 16, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Exactly. Please don’t ask me why, because I can’t put my finger precisely on why I like it. Perhaps it’s the defiance of someone who accomplished something against great odds.

Whatever the case, thank you kindly for the clip. I do appreciate your effort.

BuckeyeSam on December 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM

I never understood why O’Toole wasn’t cast as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films. That was a shame because it would have been a tour de force.

neyney on December 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM

My favorite line from “My favorite Year” was when O’Toole declared “I’m a movie star not an actor, dammit”. While this line could be applied to many if not most of those in Hollywood, it did not hold for O’toole – He was an excellent actor. The Lion has earned his rest – well done.

tommyboy on December 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

I saw “Billy Jack” at the age of 13 at the theater when it came out. My friends and I thought it was the most awesome flick ever. We were humming “One Tin Soldier” and quoting lines back and forth with each other at school like a bunch of nerds at a Star Trek convention. Must have seen it three or four times. I had a chance to watch it again about a year ago on Netflics and was amazed at just how mind numbingly gawd-awful bad it was. LOL – the 70s: You had to be there I guess.

tommyboy on December 16, 2013 at 11:50 AM

I saw “Billy Jack” at the age of 13 at the theater when it came out. My friends and I thought it was the most awesome flick ever. We were humming “One Tin Soldier” and quoting lines back and forth with each other at school like a bunch of nerds at a Star Trek convention. Must have seen it three or four times. I had a chance to watch it again about a year ago on Netflics and was amazed at just how mind numbingly gawd-awful bad it was. LOL – the 70s: You had to be there I guess.

tommyboy on December 16, 2013 at 11:50 AM

I loved that movie…..yes the acting was not what
you’d call Oscar worthy…they actually came out with
a sequel movie called “The Trial of Billy Jack. That one
was not nearly as good….

ToddPA on December 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM

they actually came out with
a sequel movie called “The Trial of Billy Jack. That one
was not nearly as good….
ToddPA on December 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM

They even had a sequel to that one called “Billy Jack goes to Washington” and it was even worse than the other two if that’s possible.

tommyboy on December 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I wonder if the embalmer is even needed for O’Toole? Yeah, he stopped being a lush a while back, but……

(And, yes, he was a great actor.)

GWB on December 16, 2013 at 1:26 PM

O’Toole was really a great, interesting actor who will be missed. Thankfully, his body of work will be with us for a long, long time.

SC.Charlie on December 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

I wonder if the embalmer is even needed for O’Toole? Yeah, he stopped being a lush a while back, but……

(And, yes, he was a great actor.) – GWB on December 16, 2013 at 1:26 PM

I just read on Wikipedia that in the mid-1970s he nearly died from stomach cancer that was brought on by his excessive use of alcohol. They had to remove part of his stomach and his pancreas, which made him insulin dependent.

SC.Charlie on December 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM