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Los Angeles - Peter O'Toole has died.
The legendary 'Lawrence of Arabia' star passed away aged 81 at a London Hospital yesterday (14.12.13) following a long illness.
The Irish-born actor got his big break when Sir David Lean cast him in the lead as adventurer T.E. Lawrence in his groundbreaking 1962 epic.
For his role he received the first of eight Oscar nominations for Best Actor, although he never won the award.
Peter’s other Oscar nominations included his memorable roles in 'Becket', 'The Stunt Man' and 'Goodbye, Mr Chips'.
Peter was given an honourary Oscar in 2003 aged 70 for “providing cinema history with some of its most memorable characters” but had initially wanted to refuse it, writing to the Academy asking them to delay it until he was 80, and claiming he was “still in the game and might win the bugger outright”.
His last nomination came a few years later for his role in 2006's 'Venus'.
Peter is survived by grown up daughters Kate and Patricia and a son, Lorcan.
In a statement, Kate said: “His family are very appreciative and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts.
“In due course there will be a memorial filled with song and good cheer, as he would have wished. We will be happy to speak to you all then but in the meantime if you could give Peter O’Toole the respect he deserves and allow us to grieve privately we’d appreciate it.
“Thank you all again for your beautiful tributes - keep them coming.”
Peter was considered one of Hollywood's hellraisers, and embraced hard drinking and partying in the 60s.
He said: “Me, [Richard] Burton, Richard Harris; we did in public what everyone else did in private then, and does for show now. We drank in public, we knew about pot [marijuana].”
However, in the 70s Peter was diagnosed with pancreatitis and had to give up alcohol on the advice of doctors.
He retied from acting last year, saying: “I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.”