Gary Johnson wrote:I think we should be amazed he lived as long as he did considering the life he led. Most of his drinking buddies left us in their fifties.
And although he appeared in a lot of turkey's, he himself was never the embarrassment of the project. And that's saying something -- Remember, he was in the cast of SUPERGIRL (1984).
Off the top of my head, I can always enjoy him in NIGHT OF THE GENERALS (67), LORD JIM (65), BECKET (64) -- He's crazier in that than the more touted RULING CLASS (72) -- THE STUNTMAN (79) (which brought him back from purgatory....or where ever actors go when Hollywood believes you are washed up....) and of course, the obscenely perfect MY FAVORITE YEAR (82)....
"I'm not an actor. I'm a movie star!!"
We should be amazed that we had him for as long as we did when we nearly lost him to stomach cancer in the mid 1970’s, (his last film could have indeed been Otto Preminger’s horrible ROSEBUD (1975)) and that he continued on for so long with a large amount of his digestive system removed and looking like the carcass the cat dragged out after Thanksgiving for so many decades. But I wager O’Toole was a tough old bugger, and he continued on amazingly on his own terms (I think he only stayed off the booze in toto through the 80’s) still giving off amazing performances even in the paycheck-picker-uppers he was forced as so many aging but brilliant Brit Actors are to do as their careers go on.
So many great films and TV Movies apart from the ones mentioned: MURPHYS WAR (1971), ROGUE MALE (1977), ZULU DAWN (1979), HIGH SPIRITS (1988, cut to ribbons in it’s released form, but O’Toole is delightful in it), a wild Brit TV version of UNCLE SILAS (1989, released here as DARK ANGEL), and, one of my favorites, the 1995 BBC version of P.G. Wodehouse’s HEAVY WEATHER (1995), with O’Toole playing classic British Upper-Class Twit as Clarence, the Pig-obsessed Earl of Emsworth. His last great part had to be the 2006 VENUS, but he still soldiered on being riveting in whatever he did, regardless of the quality of the surrounding production.
His was just one of these last remaining bits of quality from the 20th Century that drifted over into the 21st, now irreplaceable, rare, and getting rarer all the time. He will be missed.
RICHARD M ROBERTS