Peter O’Toole: a career in pictures

Visual highlights from the career of the great Irish-born actor Peter O’Toole, who has died aged 81.

O’Toole shot to fame in David Lean’s Oscar-winning desert epic Lawrence of Arabia (1962) playing the British soldier who inspired the Arabs to take arms against the Turks during World War I. The actor received his first of eight Academy Award nominations for best actor.

O’Toole meeting Queen Elizabeth II with director David Lean and producer Sam Spiegel at the royal premiere of Lawrence of Arabia in 1962.

Playing King Henry II to Richard Burton’s Thomas Becket in Peter Glenville’s 1964 historical drama Becket. Both stars were nominated for the Oscar for best actor, but lost out to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964).

Drinking champagne with co-star Richard Burton and his wife Elizabeth Taylor on location for Becket.

Playing an arch womaniser in the company of Romy Schneider, Paula Prentiss, Capucine and Ursula Andress in the 1965 sex comedy What’s New Pussycat?, written by Woody Allen.

A publicity still for the 1966 caper comedy How to Steal a Million, starring O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn. 

O’Toole received his fourth Oscar nomination playing Latin master Arthur Chipping in the 1969 version of James Hilton’s 1934 school drama Goodbye Mr. Chips.

In the 1972 class satire The Ruling Class, O’Toole plays the psychologically disturbed son of the 13th Earl of Gurney, whose accession to the title after his father’s death causes havoc. It was Marlon Brando’s turn (in The Godfather) to beat O’Toole to the best actor award. 

In the 1980 cult favourite The Stunt Man, O’Toole plays a veteran film director who agrees to help hide a young fugitive if he will perform dangerous stunts on the production of his latest film. Another Oscar nomination followed, but this was Robert De Niro’s year for Raging Bull.

O’Toole played a supporting role, as the aristocratic Count Blount, in Stephen Fry’s 2003 Bright Young Things, adapted from Evelyn Waugh’s classic satire of the decadence of the interwar years, Vile Bodies.

O’Toole played an ageing actor whose lustful eye is turned by the great niece of an old friend in Roger Michell’s 2006 drama Venus, written by Hanif Kureishi. He received his eighth and final Oscar nomination, but was beaten by Forrest Whitaker playing Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. O’Toole holds the record for most Oscar nominations without a win.

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