Peter O'Toole dies at 81, TCM plans tribute to legendary actor

peter-o-toole-dead-at-81-gi.jpg Peter O'Toole, the legendary actor known for his roles in "Lawrence of Arabia," "Becket," and many more classic films over the years, died Saturday (Dec. 14) in London at the age of 81 after a long illness.

O'Toole's daughter, Kate, said in a statement, "His family are very appreciative and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts," the Guardian reports.

O'Toole was mostly known for his film and stage credits, but starred in TV shows such as Showtime's "The Tudors" as recently as 2008. O'Toole retired from acting in 2012, but a year beforehand he sat down with Robert Osbourne at the TCM Classic Film Festival for a tell-all interview that was later aired as a TCM special called "Peter O'Toole: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival."

In the special O'Toole reminisced about shooting "Lawrence of Arabia" for nearly two years in the desert . "It was a mass of camels, sheiks, horses, cutlasses, guns," O'Toole described. "Omar [Sharif, his coster] looked like a nun with a mustache. He said, 'I'm going to tie myself to my camel.' I said, 'Well I'm going to get drunk.'"

He also recalled that he and costar Richard Burton had pledged they wouldn't drink during the week while filming "Becket." "But on Friday, oooooh," he said. (You can read the LA Times report of the conversation here.)

After his retirement, O'Toole said he'd planned to work on the third volume of his memoirs. There is no word on the book's progress.

A spokesperson tells Zap2it that TCM is currently working on programming a tribute to the actor. While the exact content is unconfirmed, it seems likely to include the 2012 special.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images