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Peter O’Toole Takes Center Stage In New TCM Special, Premiering April 1 & Live From Classic Film Festival

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As a prelude to the opening of the 2012 TCM Classic Film FestivalTurner Classic Movies (TCM) will air a special on-air tribute to eight-time Oscar® nominee and honorary Academy Award® recipient Peter O’Toole, who took center stage at last year’s festival. OnWednesday, April 11, TCM will premiere Peter O’Toole: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival, a one-hour special taped at the 2011 festival in which TCM host Robert Osborne interviews the legendary actor in front of an audience of festival attendees.

Peter O’Toole: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival is set to premiere at 8 p.m. (ET). The special will be followed by three O’Toole classics. The following is the complete schedule for the evening (all times Eastern):

8 p.m. – Peter O’Toole: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival(2012) – Premiere
9 p.m. – The Lion in Winter (1968)
11:30 p.m. – Peter O’Toole: Live from the TCM Film Festival (2012) – Encore
12:30 a.m. – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
4:30 a.m. – The Day They Robbed The Bank of England (1960)

We all have our favorite actors, and when people ask me about mine, one name I always mention is Peter O’Toole,” Osborne says in his introduction to the special. “He’s not only a favorite actor but a great actor.”

Osborne goes on to say, “It’s no secret Peter O’Toole is a very private man, so we were especially pleased when he accepted our invitation to fly from his home in London to join us at the second TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. During his visit, he was given the rare honor of placing his hand and footprints in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I was very pleased to host the ceremony, which was attended by many of Peter’s friends, his family and his fans. Then Peter and I sat down for an in-depth interview in front of a live audience.  He was charming, delightful, classy, very funny and a perfect guest.  We had a wonderful time.”

In the special, O’Toole keeps the audience enraptured with stories from his life and career. He recalls his earliest memories of going to the movies as a child, an activity usually prefaced with a milkshake. He remembers his earliest movie experience was going to see the Marx Brothers in A Day at the Races (1937) with his father, a racing bookie. He also talks about his first career as a journalist, his stint in the Royal Navy during the Korean War and his decision to become an actor.

Osborne and O’Toole then launch into a detailed discussion about his film career, beginning with some memorable words he received from director David Lean during his first day on the set of Lawrence of Arabia: “Pete, this is the beginning of a great adventure.”

The special wraps with O’Toole providing his personal definition of acting: “In the beginning was the word and the word was made flesh.  That is, to me, is what acting is.  You make the words flesh.”

Peter O’Toole Biography
O’Toole was born in County Galway, Ireland, and grew up in Leeds, England, the son of a bookmaker father and a Scottish-born nurse mother. After service in the Royal Navy, he became interested in theatre and acting and was accepted by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

O’Toole was in repertory at the Bristol Old Vic for three years. Followed by work at the Royal Court with the other so-called ‘angries’ and then at Stratford playing Shakespeare where, at the age of 27, his ‘Shylock’ was hailed by press and public as the finest of his generation, perhaps even of the century. Prior to Stratford he had played in a film called The Day They Robbed the Bank of England (1960). This film was seen by David Lean’s brother-in-law who told Lean, “I’ve seen the man who could play Lawrence of Arabia”.  Lean then telephoned O’Toole in Stratford. They met in London.  Lean offered O’Toole the part of T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. In the first major screen role of O’Toole’s career, the golden-haired, blue-eyed actor made a powerful impact on audiences as the conflicted British liaison officer caught at the center of an Arab revolt. The film also marked O’Toole’s first Oscar nomination.

Over the next 10 years, he would garner a string of nominations for performances in Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968), as well as the musical version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) and the wildly offbeat comedy The Ruling Class (1972).

O’Toole garnered his sixth Oscar nomination as a tyrannical director inThe Stunt Man (1980). Two years later, he received a seventh nomination for his funny-yet-touching performance in the nostalgic My Favorite Year (1982), in which he plays a former screen idol brought out of the woodwork to guest-star on a live television comedy show in the 1950s. Since then, he has co-starred in a wide range of films, including Bernardo Bertolucci’s Oscar-winning film The Last Emperor (1987), the comedy hit King Ralph (1991) and the epic blockbuster Troy (2004).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on O’Toole in 2003. Four years later, he was back at the Oscars with his eighth Best Actor nomination for the May-December romance Venus (2006). He continues to be extremely active, with such recent credits as Ratatouille (2007), Stardust (2007),Dean Spanley (2008), Christmas Cottage (2008) and the popular television series The Tudors.

Throughout his film career O’Toole has continued his theatre work, averaging a play every two years. He retired from the stage in 1999.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Farewell to Peter O’Toole | Laurel L. Russwurm

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