Peter O’Toole retired from acting today. I guess it’s not that sad, really. I mean, he’s 79 years old. Ya know. How much longer could he have kept it up? Probably not much longer, really. Plus, it’s not like he was getting meaty roles anymore. Years and years of getting plastered have left Peter O’Toole looking a little bit more frail than the average 70-something you’d run into in this day and age. Still, if given the chance, he could probably deliver one more extraordinary performance. We’ll never know.
What angers me is that all the articles I’ve read today concerning Peter O’Toole’s retirement are almost entirely focused on how he never won an Oscar. A piece published for the San Francisco Chronicle even went so far as to refer to his eight Oscar nominations as “eight losses.”
Seriously, is the gold eunuch statue that damn important? This man was nominated eight times. It’s completely ludicrous that he never won, but aren’t eight nominations good enough proof that the man’s a genius? He was wasted when he filmed Lawrence of Arabia and Becket, and yet he still earned nominations. That takes some significant talent. Come on. Why dramatize the lack of a stupid fucking Oscar?
Also, why not go ahead and tell the truth? Peter O’Toole never won the stupid Oscar because he’s a drunken Irishman who has never made any apologies for his behavior. If you’re gonna be a troublemaker in Hollywood, the only way you can still win awards is if you devote yourself to charitable causes. That’s the only way you can get into the club and still continue to do whatever you want. Or, ya know, you have to make sure you only make movies where you get to play disabled. Or gay.
Peter O’Toole didn’t do any of that. He was just an actor. A classically trained actor with a perfect voice who played kings and earls and princes with unrivaled finesse.
Worst of all is that not enough people know his name. Even I only fell in love with him in December of 2010 when I watched What’s New, Pussycat? for the first time, and I don’t consider myself an oblivious idiot when it comes to movies, thank you very much. Why is it that so many people have asked “Who’s that?” when I’ve mentioned Peter O’Toole, and yet everyone and their mother seems to have heard of Laurence Olivier? I don’t mean to insult good ol’ Larry, but to say that his career is more relevant that Peter O’Toole’s is just not correct. Then again, Larry won an Oscar for Hamlet, so what do I know?
I dread the day when all the thespians die. The Marlon Brando idolaters will be next to go. Once we lose Meryl, who will we have? Sure, there are plenty of talented people out there, but where are the juggernauts? I just don’t see any.
Well, old friend, congratulations on your retirement. You’ve made me laugh, and you’ve made me cry. You’ve filled me with inspiration, and you’ve made me feel like a completely untalented waste. Kick up your feet, pour yourself a Guinness, and have a good, long hyena laugh. You outlived ’em all, you crazy son of a bitch.