After dazzling audiences for over half a century, Peter O'Toole is hanging up his acting hat.

"It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won't come back," the "Lawrence of Arabia" star wrote in a statement. "My professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort. It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I've shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits. However, it's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell."

O'Toole, born in Connemara, Ireland, and raised in Leeds, England, began his acting career on stage and won his first big-screen role in 1960's "Kidnapped." Two years later, he would be cast in his most iconic role to date, as T.E. Lawrence in "Lawrence of Arabia" (director David Lean famously chose O'Toole over other more established actors). The film would end up winning seven Academy Awards, and earn O'Toole his first Best Actor nomination.

While "Lawrence of Arabia" catapulted him to stardom, O'Toole went on to appear in countless classics, such as "The Lion in the Winter," "Caligula," and "Man of La Mancha." The 79-year-old actor stayed relevant to younger audiences as well, voicing the svelte villain in 2007's "Ratatouille."

Although O'Toole's lengthy career yielded eight Academy Award nods in total, he would never take home a statue (although he did receive an honorary oscar in 2003), making him the most nominated actor to not win the gold.

[via The Daily News]

categories Movies