Thursday, December 19, 2013

Peter Out

The cruise ship my family sailed on way back in my youth had a number of films playing on the Cinema Deck. I watched all of them, as I was an aspiring movie aficionado and introvert who didn't care much for Junior Casino Night or shuffleboard on the Lido Deck. One of the films I watched, and since I was trapped at sea I watched all of them many times, was "The Lion In Winter."  It served as my introduction to Peter O'Toole which, in turn, provided me with a lifetime's worth of fascination.
I know he made some bad films, but I even watched "Creator" in hopes of catching a glimpse of some of that extraordinary talent. Yes, I watched "Supergirl" with the expressed purpose of watching him chew on the very cheesy scenery. I paid full price admission back in 1986 to see Mister O'Toole play Governor Anthony Cloyden Hayes to Robin Williams' retired Chicago firefighter Jack Moniker in "Club Paradise." To see Peter O'Toole act, I watched a lot of bad movies.
Of course, the obverse is true as well. My fascination brought me to a lot of great films. Like "The Stunt Man." Or "The Ruling Class." That movie about the desert and camels and such. And "My Favorite Year." That one gets extra points because it includes my favorite line as well: "I'm not an actor! I'm a movie star!" It also stands as the supreme irony regarding Peter O'Toole. He wasn't just a movie star. He was an actor. A very good one. So much so that he was nominated for the best actor Oscar eight times. He never won. His consolation was the special Academy Award he was presented with a special honorary statuette in 2003. There was that and the adulation of the masses, meaning not just me. I had a friend in college who harbored lustful impulses toward Peter O'Toole to the degree that she announced she would "gladly swim in his underwear drawer." A higher tribute I have difficulty imagining.
Aloha, Peter O'Toole. You stomped on the terra.

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