The first time I ever witnessed the greatness that is Peter O’Toole I watched the film How To Steal A Million, also starring Audrey Hepburn. The first time you see him, half his face is covered by a Van Gogh forgery, just his beaming blue eyes showing. Those eyes. They are show stoppers. The first time I saw those eyes I had a mild freak out because I had never seen such eyes popping out of Technicolor before.
Peter O’Toole continued to charm his way into my heart. He just has a way of speaking (see my post on Loki). No one can say, “Nothing is written,” the way he can. No one could make me laugh at lines such as, “The infection is spreading,” like he could. And no one would ever make a better Anton Ego than Peter O’Toole.
I make a habit of not spending time on the Internet on weekends, so it wasn’t until this morning at work that I learned of O’Toole’s passing. I may have loudly cried out, “NOOOOO!” for all my co-workers to hear.
I remember one summer discussing attractive actors with my girlfriends (oh, the silly conversations of teenage girls). I eagerly pulled up a photo of O’Toole to show everyone. I recall the friend who saw it first said, “Oh, don’t worry about it,” to the others. “It’s just an old guy.” I was mildly crushed at this. Because Peter O’Toole, while handsome, is altogether brilliant! (Dear friends: I love you, even if you never understood my love of old or dead actors.)
I remember the first time I saw one of his films looking him up and feeling so relieved that he was still alive so I could expect more greatness to come from him.
I remember cracking up in the theatre as I watched Stardust because his malicious laugh as one of his sons fell to his doom was perfect and hilarious.
I remember watching Lawrence of Arabia and feeling the tremendous power of that film and thinking there is something truly special about Peter O’Toole.
Why is it we become so worked up about the deaths of actors? People whom we’ve never met? In many ways our emotions of sadness are bizarre. However, whether or not we’ve met these actors, when we watch a film that touches our hearts, we feel connected to the artists–however insane that might seem.
I will miss Peter O’Toole. I am glad to have access to his talent via the many films he created during his lifetime. But I mourn that this weekend marked the passing of another Hollywood great.
Peace be with you, Peter O’Toole.