Monday, March 24, 2003

O'Toole graciously accepts honorary award

By Gary Gentile
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Peter O'Toole, the elegant Irish actor who has been nominated seven times for best actor but never won, was finally honored Sunday for a lifetime of portraying kings, swashbucklers and rogues in more than 50 films.

"Always a bridesmaid, never a bride my foot," O'Toole said. "I have my very own Oscar now to be with me until death us do part."

O'Toole initially declined the honorary award in January, saying that since he was "still in the game, and might yet win ... outright, would the academy please defer the honor until I am 80?"

He graciously accepted his honor Sunday.

"I think of the United States and of the loves and friendships I've known here for more than half a century and of how much the nation has given to me both personally, privately and professionally," O'Toole said. "I am deeply thankful. And now, at this last, you have given me this delightful shock."

The tribute held a timely resonance. One of the roles the 70-year-old actor was honored for was his Oscar-nominated turn in Lawrence of Arabia.

The 1962 film told the story of T.E. Lawrence, who aided the Arab rebellion against the Turks during World War I, a movement that led to the creation of the independent Arab state of Iraq.

Other best-actor nominations were for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980) and My Favorite Year (1982).

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