Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Peter O'Toole

And just like that the world is a smaller, emptier place.

So let's lift a glass to one of the greats, the last of the Hellraisers.

T.E. Lawrence, the 14th Earl of Gurney, Henry II, Mr. Chips, Alan Swann, Don Quixote de la Mancha, Eli Cross, Hamlet, Flavius Silva, Vladimir, Jeffrey Bernard, Henry Higgins, and so many more indelible characters have left the building.

Peter O'Toole was an actor and a movie star. A writer of Joycean prose and a raconteur of rare delight and insight.

He liked to drink and talk. He liked to drink and carouse. He liked to drink and...drink. He was Irish to his core, after all.

He drank too much and it nearly killed him off way too young, as it did so many of his friends. Somehow he survived.

His star rose like a rocket and fell like a stone. He survived that too. And somehow rose again.

He was bigger than life. He couldn't help himself in that regard. He just was. In truth, that didn't always work on the stage or on the screen.

But when it did, oh my God!

They do not make them like that anymore. They never made many of them to begin with.

As himself wrote while a mere sprout, "I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony."

We were lucky to have him. Thank God we still have the films.

Lawrence of Arabia, Beckett, The Lion In Winter, How To Steal A Million, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stuntman, My Favorite Year, Masada, Venus.

Not a bad life's work.

And so, Mr. O'Toole, Pedro to your closest friends, a toast to your passing:

"May your glass be ever full...and may you be in Heaven half an hour before the Devil knows you're dead."

If you believe in an afterlife, then you know they're having one hell of a party in Heaven right now.

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