Peter O’Toole quotes

Peter O’Toole was one of the leading actors of his generation. He first achieved worldwide fame in the lead role of the 1962s classic film, Lawrence of Arabia.

More Irish quotes

He went on to star in several more classics including The Lion in Winter, Becket and Goodbye Mr Chips. He won numerous awards including four Golden Globes, a BAFTA and an Emmy.
Peter O'Toole
O’Toole’s father was Irish and his mother was Scottish. Although he regarded himself as Irish, he was brought up in Leeds in England and may even have been born there. He wasn’t sure himself because he had two birth certificates; one saying he was born in Leeds on 2 August 1932, and the other saying he was born in June in Connemara in Ireland.

He was rejected by the Abbey Theatre drama school in Dublin because he didn’t speak Irish, but went on to become one of the star graduates of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He was a successful Shakespearean actor before turning to films.

O’Toole renewed his Irish connection when he started living in Connemara in 1963. He played a part in popularising the song Carrickfergus, which was largely unknown until the 1960s when he brought it to the attention of Irish singer and writer Dominic Behan, who turned it into one of the classics of the Irish folk revival.

Peter O’Toole died on 14 December 2013 in London, aged 81. His remains were returned to Connemara. His daughter Kate said: “We’re bringing him home. It’s what he would have wanted.”

Peter O'Toole quote. Image copyright Ireland Calling

* * *

I did quite enjoy the days when one went for a beer at one’s local in Paris and woke up in Corsica.

* * *

It was around 1985 before I heard the news of President Kennedy’s assassination.

* * *

I do not regret one drop. We were young people who’d been children throughout the war – well, you can imagine what it felt like in 1945 to be free – not to be bombed, not to be rationed, not to be restricted. There was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. We weren’t solitary, boring drinkers, sipping vodka alone in a room. No, no, no: we went out on the town, baby, and we did our drinking in public!

* * *

Peter O'Toole quote. Image copyright Ireland Calling

* * *

When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.

* * *

For me, life has either been a wake or a wedding.

Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

We were doing it under the most extraordinary circumstances, but the first out of the tent in the morning would be David Lean. He said to me on the very first day of shooting, Pete, this is the beginning of a great adventure.

* * *

I don’t approve of theatre directors. I won’t speak to them. When you’ve earned your living on the stage for 10, 15 years, then come and tell me how to earn mine. Go on the stage and earn your living for a dozen years, and get some humility.

* * *

If you go to the West End theatres now, it’s a graveyard. Lots of musicals, they’re cheerful. But the plays? God almighty.

* * *

Peter O'Toole quote. Image copyright Ireland Calling

* * *

Nicest asses in the world, Ireland. Irish women are still carrying water on their heads and carrying their husbands home from pubs, and such things are the greatest posture builders in the world.

* * *

I hitched to London on a lorry, looking for adventure. I was dropped at Euston Station and was trying to find a hostel. I passed the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and walked in just to case the joint.

* * *

Peter O'Toole quote. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

The common denominator of all my friends is that they’re dead. There was a time when I felt like a perpendicular cuckoo clock, popping up and down in pulpits saying: ‘Fear no more the heat o’ the sun.’ They were dying like flies.

* * *

I’ve never looked for women. When I was a teenager, perhaps. But they are looking for us, and we [men] must learn that very quickly. They decide. We just turn up. Never mind the superficialities – tall and handsome and all that. Just turn up.

* * *

People have always talked about beauty. It has been an obsession throughout millennia but it doesn’t mean a bloody thing. When I was a young boy I was pretty and I was called Bubbles. One soon learned to handle oneself under those circumstances or else go down. I put a cigarette in my mouth to make myself look a bit more butch. But it all means nothing. As I have said to many a drama teacher over the years, pity the pretty. Into a room walks a beautiful girl or into a room walks a beautiful man and everyone thinks they’ve got it made. Well they ain’t. In fact it can be much more difficult.

* * *

Peter O'Toole quote. Image copyright Ireland Calling

* * *

The revivals of Look Back in Anger have been execrated. Well, it was never very good. I went to see it – dreary little production, drearily done. It’s all PR. A PR put out a flyer and referred to John Osborne as an ‘angry young man’. It was one of those phrases, everybody used it – I was called an ‘angry young actor’. God! I had a rebellious nature, of course. But I wasn’t particularly angry about anything. I was quite cheerful!

* * *

I’m not working-class. I come from the criminal classes.

* * *

The only thing I’ve ever been interested in teaching anyone in life is cricket. I became a professional cricket teacher about 20 years ago. I had a son born to me when I was 50, and I thought, he needs someone to bowl to him.

Sykes Irish cottages

Sign up to our FREE newsletters

Please click on your confirmation email,
Check your junk mail folder in case it gets sent there.

* * *

Peter O'Toole quote. Image copyright Ireland Calling
He received an honorary lifetime achievement award at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003. Here is a video showing Peter O’Toole and his acceptance speech for the honorary Oscar.

Quotes Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

All images copyright Ireland Calling

More Irish quotes

»crosslinked«