In Lawrence of Arabia, the character T. E. Lawrence ventures through the Middle East in order to rally up support for Britain during World War I. Over forty years later the movie still holds its grand and epic feel few other films could match. But what really makes Lawrence of Arabia great is the performance by Peter O’Toole as the eponymous protagonist. The role of Lawrence was initially offered to other actors, including Marlon Brando, and at the time of casting O’Toole was virtually unknown. That character was O’Toole’s breakout role and remains the definitive part of his career.
Peter O’Toole died yesterday at the age of 81. He struggled through cancer in the 70s and has remained one of the greatest voices of his generation. The legendary actor retired last year, saying, “I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.” We will miss you Mr. O’Toole. R. I. P.