John Y. Brown, III: R.I.P, Peter O’Toole

How does one say RIP to a man, Peter O’Toole, who once quipped, “I hate the light. I hate weather. Heaven for me is moving from one smoke-filled room to another?”

And to complicate matters further, O’Toole hilariously played an aristocratic delusional man who believed he was God in The Ruling Class. His doctor asks, “When did you realize you were God?” and O’Toole explains, “One day when I was praying I realized I was talking to myself.”

Today we lost, professionally, one of our greatest actors and even greater stage presences; and personally, we lost a preposterously delightful and divinely charming character’s character.

Upon hearing of Peter O’Toole’s death, I kept thinking of the story he told nearly a decade ago about what he wanted written on his tombstone.

After a trip to his dry cleaners’ to drop off his beloved leather jacket, one that he sent in “because it was covered in blood and Guinness and scotch and Cornflakes, the usual,” the jacket was returned with a note pinned on it:

“It distresses us to return work which is not perfect.”

And that’s what Peter O’Toole wants his tombstone. Maybe he’ll get his wish.

There are too many memorable video clips to pick just one. But since one is the limit for a post, this is a fitting one and they way I prefer to remember, Mr O’Toole–whose most magical role as an actor, perhaps, was simply playing himself.

(Start at about the 3:50 mark)


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