'Lawrence of Arabia' star Peter O'Toole dies aged 81

'Lawrence of Arabia' star Peter O'Toole dies aged 81

'Lawrence of Arabia' star Peter O'Toole dies aged 81

Irish actor Peter O'Toole, the star of the 1962 Oscar-winning epic "Lawrence of Arabia," has died aged 81, his agent Steve Kenis said today.

"He was one of a kind in the very best sense and a giant in his field," Kenis said. The hell-raising icon of stage and screen was nominated for eight Oscars before finally being given an honorary award in 2003.

Irish President Michael D Higgins said it was "with great sadness" that he heard of O'Toole's death. "Ireland, and the world, has lost one of the giants of film and theatre," he said in a statement.

The son of an Irish bookmaker, O'Toole was born in 1932 and raised in northern England.
After working briefly as a journalist and a radioman for the Royal Navy he went to study at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, in a class that included future stars Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Richard Harris.

After making a name in theatre, his big break arrived in the form of David Lean's 1962 desert epic "Lawrence of Arabia".