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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Monday, December 16, 2013

How did he make it to 81?

I was saddened but not surprised to hear yesterday of the death on Saturday of Peter O'Toole. It says much of the man's stature that he was top of the news broadcast on the BBC's most serious radio station, Radio 4.

I was not even 10 when Lawrence of Arabia came out, but I saw it when I was very young, and was bowled over. At some point I even requested T. E. Lawrence's book, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, as a school prize.

His performance as King Henry II in the film Becket, with fellow hellraiser Richard Burton in the title role, just confirmed my admiration for the man. When he reprised the role in The Lion in Winter, the only thing that made me cringe was the appalling Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine (though on the plus side, the identity of that Queen's spouse was the £1 million answer the first time the quiz Who Wants to be a Millionaire was won, and so I knew the answer. Sadly not me answering though, someone else got the £1 million). O'Toole was wonderful.

In my young days the horn player from the English National Opera's orchestra (I was a regular attendee) became a friend. We even shared a birthday, and at his 50th anniversary party the cake had a corner for my 29th. Later that year he was going to his old mate Peter O'Toole's 50th birthday party. He was considering inviting me, and made the mistake of telling me this while giving me a lift home on the night itself. But he was too protective, and didn't want to subject me to the kind of rave-up his pal would be having, so my begging was in vain. Grrrr!

Given the life he lived, it's miraculous that O'Toole made it to 81.

Another film star has also died this weekend aged 96. Joan Fontaine didn't feature on my list of famous faces I could put names to, but her estranged big sister, Olivia De Havilland (the great wartime aircraft...) was always a favourite. And she is still around aged 97.


JoJo said...

It's sad to see our TV, film and musical idols passing away now. Although I confess I don't think I've ever seen a film with Peter O'Toole or Joan Fontaine!

val said...

I'd really recommend Lawrence of Arabia, JoJo. It also introduced Omar Sharif, who was just gorgeous back then. Becket was really great, too. Go on, be a devil!

Fontaine was Mrs Danvers in Hitchcock's Rebecca.

Diane said...

It's nothing short of a miracle that Peter made it to 81!

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