'Lawrence Of Arabia' Star Peter O'Toole Dies

The veteran actor, who was nominated for eight Academy Awards and never won one, passed away over the weekend at the age of 81.

Peter O'Toole, legendary for his performance in "Lawrence of Arabia," among other films, died on Saturday in London following a long illness. He was 81.

A veteran actor with a body of work that spanned more than 60 years and countless onscreen roles, O'Toole was highly respected by colleagues, critics and viewers alike. His film career began in earnest with the starring role in David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia," the 1962 adventure film about British Army legend T.E. Lawrence. O'Toole was nominated for an Academy Award for the film, but lost to Gregory Peck's equally legendary turn as Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

As O'Toole's career progressed, the actor would find himself nominated for seven more Oscars, coming short time and again against the likes of Robert De Niro, Ben Kingsley and others. He did, however, receive an Academy Honorary Award in 2003, despite initially protesting the award. (The actor reportedly wrote a letter to the Academy saying he was "still in the game" and wanted to win an Oscar outright.)

O'Toole remained an active performer in his final years, appearing in the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" in 2007, and playing Pope Paul III in a memorable arc on Showtime's period-drama "The Tudors" in 2008. He shared screen-time opposite Brad Pitt in 2004's "Troy," playing ill-fated king Priam; USA Today quotes O'Toole describing Pitt as "a fair actor, a delightful young man," a testament to the veteran's straight-shooter nature.

Today, many younger moviegoers know O'Toole best for his voice, not his face. The legendary actor voiced the role of food critic Anton Ego in Pixar's "Ratatouille," defining the animated classic's core message with a memorable monologue.

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy," says O'Toole's Ego. "We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new."

O'Toole's final film, "Katherine of Alexandria," sees release in 2014.

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