The movie world has lost a number of legends this past week. British Actor Peter O’Toole died on Saturday at the age of 81 in London after a long illness. O’Toole is known to fans for his work in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ for which he earned an Academy Award nomination. Soon after the success of the film, O’Toole became a star and a heartthrob due to his 6-foot-2 frame, bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. British playwright Noel Coward famously said that “If you’d been any prettier, it would have been Florence of Arabia.”
His career included such critically acclaimed films such as’Goodbye Mr. Chips,’ ‘How To Steal A Million’ with Audrey Hepburn and ’The Lion In Winter’ with Katherine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins. His most recent credits included ‘Troy,’ ‘Ratatouille’ as the voice of food critic Anton Ego and ‘Venus’ which gave him his last Oscar nomination. O’Toole would be nominated for 8 over the span of his career, the most of any performer. In 2003, he was honored with the Academy Honorary Award which he initially balked at saying that he was “still in the game.” He finally accepted when his children informed him that it was the highest honor that any actor could receive.
He is survived by his two daughters Kate and Pat from his first marriage to actress Sian Phillips, and his son Lorcan from his second marriage.
Actress Joan Fontaine died at the age 96 on Sunday in Carmel, California. Fontaine rose to fame playing one of the many jilted wives in the classic ‘The Women,’ and as a new wife Alfred Hitchcock‘s ‘Rebecca,’ a role that earned her an Academy Award nomination. A year later she would win the Best Actress trophy for her work in Hitchcock’s ‘Suspicion.’ She shared the screen with the likes of James Stewart, Cary Grant and Burt Lancaster, and went on to start in such films as ‘Gunga Din’ and ‘The Constant Nymph,’ for which she received her third Oscar nomination and holds a record for being the youngest actress to to have three nods. In the 1950s, she would make a move to the stage, co-starring in ‘Tea and Sympathy’ with a young Anthony Perkins. Her last film appearance was in the 1994 ‘Good King Wenceslas’ but she continued to act in the theater.
Fontaine had a notoriously strained relationship with her older sister, Olivia de Havilland, as Olivia was favored by their mother, who refused to let Joan use the family name for her career. In her 1978 memoir, ‘No Bed of Roses,’ she said of the rivalry with her sister, “I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did. And if I die first, she’ll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it.” Well Ms. de Havilland, who is now 97, and resides in France, must be seething.
Fontaine is also survived by her daughter Deborah Dozier and a grandson.