On the lesson from Peter O’Toole

But the O’Toole character that lodged in cinemagoers’ minds was O’Toole himself: the hellraiser, the champagne and whisky-sinker, the garrulous, charm-drizzled sot. Like Oliver Reed, Richard Burton and Richard Harris, he was one of Hollywood’s great drinkers, and his passing brings that notorious era to a close. (“Booze is the most outrageous of all drugs, which is why I chose it,” he once told an interviewer.)

Made it to 81 on it too.

So, that story about how we’re all killing ourselves by having more than a small sherry every other Sunday…..

14 thoughts on “On the lesson from Peter O’Toole”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    O’Toole made it to 81. But Oliver Reed only made it to 61. Which is fairly young. Richard Burton just made 58 – no doubt Liz took three years out of his life. Well worth it, seeing the younger Liz. Richard Harris survived to 72 I think.

    That’s an average of 68 if I have worked it out right on my fingers.

    Not bad actually considering the average for British people as a whole. But not a reason to drink or not to drink beyond the pleasures of the bottle itself.

    However all that misses the point. As an utterly dull taxpayer who does not drink, I full recognise civilisation rests on young men being like me and not like Peter O’Toole. Having said that, I am proud to have carried the load of modern British civilisation precisely so that the four of them could drink themselves insensible and brutalise all the women they liked.

  2. Apropos the earlier post entitled “Dangerous thing, not drinking”.

    He died in hospital where, presumably, he was denied alcohol.

    Another senseless, alcohol withdrawal related death. There’s no way I’ll be letting a day go by without the stuff, just can’t take that risk.

  3. I suppose the teetotallers could point to that single building left standing at Hiroshima and say that one survivor doesn’t prove anything.

    Still, the current hysterical extremism over alcohol isn’t going to stop me enjoying the stuff.

  4. FFS, O’Toole stopped drinking decades ago when he had large parts of his intestines removed, that’s why he lived to 81. Don’t any of you read the showbiz sections?

    And his death certainly was not related to being taken off the booze by the hospital.

  5. I think people underestimate the consumption by these people.

    I actualy chatted to O’Toole for about half and hour in the Mitre near Lancaster Gate in the early 70s. He was with a Welsh character actor whose name (*shame) I forget.

    In that half an hour, they ordered a couple of singles each. But that was because the first few rounds – at 11am – were not any sensible measure, but enough whisky to ensure only a little water could be fitted in to the highball glass. Thereafter, equal measures of whisky and water kept it at an acceptable strength.

    These people had the constitution of an ox just to make it through the day, never mind 40 odd years of it.

    And while I take Tanks point about “decades ago”, it reminds me of an interesting lunch with three generations of accountant. I was the one in the middle, and the eldest was berating the youngest for smoking. I told the poor chap that although the old boy (who was 89) may have given up 20 years ago, that still left the whippersnapper nigh on 50 years of puffing away.

  6. Probably Kenneth Griifith, his old drinking partner from those days.

    One of the many things I liked about O’Toole was that although he called himself a died-in-the-wool socialist, he hated subsidized theatre, he thought it was a waste of taxpayer’s money, and he held that theatres, actors and playwrights should earn their own way in the marketplace.

  7. Had the great privilege to see him do Geoffrey Bernard is Unwell. Twice in a week. Booked the second tickets in the interval of the first.

  8. Yes but if he had abstained from drink, sex, drugs and rock and roll he could have easily have made it to 82 and, my god, it would have seemed like 182.

  9. Strange thing, but I couldn’t give a shit what he drank, provided his work turned out to be worth my money…and by God it was.
    Me: I’m a completely useless twat all day tomorrow if I have one drink too many in the evening.

  10. >From his obituaries you would think that he had been a professional wino who had dabbled in the theatre.

    Yeah, that’s actually me, not O’Toole.

  11. Even though we are embarrassed by our own contemporary self-righteousness, we can’t but admit to a grudging admiration for O’Toole and his ilk.

  12. Apparently, Lawrence of Arabia was the PM’s favourite ever film: that’ll be until the next great actor passes, I suspect 😉

    But yes, one of the true greats and I always wondered why he never won any of the 8 Oscars he was nominated for. Perhaps the Academy were worried about the content of his acceptance speech? 😀

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