Best Supporting British Actor
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Joan of Arc
My Favorite Year
The legendary Irish-born thespian Peter O'Toole proves that when an actor is faced with a bitter personal crisis and struggles with addiction, spirit and determination can often lead to a forceful "third act" in that performer's career that rivals anything to have preceded it. Blessed with an immensity of dramatic power, the fair-haired, blue-eyed, flamboyant, and virile O'Toole chalked up one of the most formidable acting resumes of the 20th century during the 1950s and '60s, before experiencing an ugly bout of self-destruction in the mid-'70s that led to serious health problems, several disappointing and embarrassing roles, and the destruction of his marriage, and threatened (in the process) to bury his career. By 1980, however, O'Toole overcame his problems and resurfaced, triumphantly, as a box-office star.
O'Toole began life in Connemara, Ireland, in either 1932 or 1933 (most sources list his birthdate as August 2, 1932, though the year is occasionally disputed). His family moved to Leeds, England in the early '30s, where O'Toole's father earned his keep as a racetrack bookie. Around 1946, 14-year-old O'Toole dropped out of secondary school and signed on with The Yorkshire Evening Post as copy boy, messenger, and eventually, a cub reporter. Within three years, he dropped the newspaper gig and joined the Leeds Civic Theatre as a novice player; this paved the way for ongoing parts at the much-revered Old Vic (after O'Toole's military service in the Royal Navy as a signalman and decoder), beginning around 1955. A half-decade of stage roles quickly yielded to screen parts in the early '60s. O'Toole actually debuted (with a bit role) in 1959, in The Savage Innocents, but international fame did not arrive for a few years, with several enviable back-to-back characterizations in the 1960s: that of the gallant, inscrutable T.E. Lawrence in Sir David Lean's 1962 feature Lawrence of Arabia (for which he received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination); Henry II in Peter Glenville's 1964 Becket (starring longtime friend Richard Burton), for which he received his second Best Actor Oscar nomination; the title character in Lord Jim (1965), and philandering fashion editor Michael James in the popular Clive Donner-Woody Allen sex farce What's New Pussycat? (1965). O'Toole's success continued, unabated, with yet another appearance as Henry II alongside Katharine Hepburn in Anthony Harvey's The Lion in Winter (1968), which netted him a third Best Actor Oscar nod. Unfortunately, O'Toole lost yet again, this time (in a completely unexpected turn of events) to Cliff Robertson in Charly, though a fourth nomination was only a year away, for the actor's work in 1969's Goodbye, Mr. Chips.