Peter O’Toole, the 79-year-old actor made famous by his starring role in David Lean’s epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” released a statement today that he has decided to retire from acting. Via The Hollywood Reporter:
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 back. My 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.
While such announcements are generally rather pretentious, this one is significant (in the scheme of things) because most hoped that O’Toole would finally win an Oscar someday, despite his old age. The eight-time nominee most recently had a shot for his tremendous performance in 2006’s “Venus,” but ultimately lost to Forest Whitaker for “The Last King of Scotland.”
O’Toole has two more scheduled chances to win the golden statue. The first is for “Katherine of Alexandria,” an epic tale based on Saint Katherine (who established belief in God in Rome), which is scheduled to come out later this year. The second is for next year’s “Mary Mother of Christ,” helmed by “Sanctum” director Alister Grierson, but the film hasn’t begun shooting yet, so it’s possible that O’Toole’s retirement is effective immediately and he’ll drop out.