R.I.P. Peter O’Toole

“The trick is not minding that it hurts.”

Legendary star Peter O’toole has died at the age of 81 after being taken to hospital on Friday. In a statement released earlier, Kate O’toole says:

“His family are very appreciative and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts.

In due course there will be a memorial filled with song and good cheer, as he would have wished. We will be happy to speak to you all then but in the meantime if you could give Peter O’toole the respect he deserves and allow us to grieve privately we’d appreciate it. Thank you all again for your beautiful tributes – keep them coming.

O’Toole retired from acting only last year, after a 54-year career, writing at the time:

“It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come backMy professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort. It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I’ve shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits. However, it’s my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one’s stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.”

An eight-time Academy Award nominee, O’Toole sadly never won an Oscar aside from an honorary won he received at the age of 70. The Irish born actor scored his first Oscar nomination for the film role that put him on the map – playing T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 masterpiece “Lawrence of Arabia,” still considered one of the greatest films ever made.

He also played King Henry II twice – in both 1964’s “Becket” and 1968’s “The Lion in Winter” – and scored Oscar nominations for both. Other famous roles included Don Quixote in “Man of La Mancha,” Alan Swann in “My Favorite Year,” Jack Gurney in “The Ruling Class,” Robinson Crusoe in “Man Friday,” Emperor Tiberius in “Caligula,” Professor Henry Higgins in “Pygmalion,” Zaltar in “Supergirl,” Reginald Johnston in “The Last Emperor,” the food critic Anton Ego in “Ratatouille,” an elderly Casanova in the BBC’s “Casanova,” Bishop Cauchon in “Joan of Arc: The Mini-Series” President Paul von Hindenburg in “Hitler: The Rise of Evil, Maurice in “Venus,” King Priam in “Troy,” Pope Paul III in “The Tudors” and the voice of Sherlock Holmes in four animated movies.

Our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and countless fans.