Peter O'Toole passed away today at age 81. I am sure that most people will be talking about his Academy Award nominated performance in Lawrence of Arabia , his triumphs as Hamlet on the British stage before he was discovered, or his final Academy Award nomination for Venus. However, those aren't the things that made me adore him as an actor and spending the rest of my life excited when I saw his name associated with a project. No, I discovered Peter O'Toole through one of my favorite movies, High Spirits.
You know the moment I said the title of that movie you paused, remembered it fondly and smiled, or maybe even chuckled just a little bit. The story of the drunken family failure Peter Plunkett trying to save his ancestral castle by creating fake ghosts and high jinx in-sue when the actual ghosts decide to give him more than he bargained for. It's amazing, it's cheesy and it's fun. That was how I first discovered Peter O'Toole and that is always the character I will first think of whenever his name comes up and it is always a fond memory that makes me smile. I was 9 when that movie came out, so that will always be with me as part of my childhood.
You grow up and discover that he was also in Caligula
with Malcolm McDowell who is one of my favorite actors. He was the Pope in the television show The Tudors which was an amazing series, but I have to say that I loved him as the voice of Anton Ego in Ratatouille. The hardened food critic whose heart was soften by a cooking rat and a boy who finds his confidence. I bring up these particular roles to show the insane amount of versatility that he had as an actor. If you look at his IMDB page there is never really a gap in his resume, he was constantly working and bringing his art and flair to all of his projects. I am saddened by this loss, but I am grateful for the years of entertainment and joy that he brought into my life as an artist.