Peter O'Toole's Drunkest Hits

Peter O'Toole's Drunkest Hits

It's not as though Peter O'Toole died this week when he announced his retirement from acting, but contemplating the Irish great's absence from stage and screen alike nevertheless yields a bittersweet fog of remembrance through which our hearts and souls must now navigate. I think they call it a "hangover."

Thankfully, there is video (to say nothing of the gloriously soggy moment in time, above, when Roger Ebert and Jason Patric found themselves supporting the legend). For my money, nothing beats his epic entrance on a 1995 episode of The Late Show, where David Letterman welcomed O'Toole and a thirsty camel named Topsy to the stage in London. What happened next put Lawrence of Arabia to shame.

Previously, during a drunken stint on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, O'Toole had confessed to... another drunken stint on The Tonight Show.

And who will ever forget (ahem) O'Toole's celebrated performance as the sodden title character in Keith Waterhouses's play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell? (Dialogue NSFW, though under the circumstances what could possibly go wrong with slowly turning your chair to your boss and/or any other objecting parties and woozily sputtering, "It's Peter O'Fucking Toole. Listen!")

Here he is duetting with — and tackling, naturally — his late, lamented contemporary Richard Harris ahead of a rugby match in Ireland.

It's not quite O'Toole, but back on The Late Show in 2011, you can practically taste the sauce in Ryan Gosling's tale of confronting the actor on Oscar night a few years earlier.

And just for fun, here's Bill Hader helping to cement O'Toole's legacy, SNL style:

Oh! And he acted in a few things en route to becoming the losingest (0-for-8, ouch) acting nominee in the history of the Academy Awards. He did, however, deliver a reasonably sober acceptance speech for the honorary Oscar he received (despite trying to refuse) in 2003. By way of our partners at ENTV, here's a run through O'Toole's screen highlights. Happy retirement, Peter! We'll send whiskey.

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  • anon says:

    Wasn't it just research for his roles in My Favorite Year and The Ruling Class?

  • billyray75 says:

    Just wanted to let you know, the photo at the top with Roger Ebert and Jason Patric took place at the Savannah Film Festival in Savannah, GA 2004.

  • CarolLynn says:

    Just 2 days ago, I watched the Special Edition Lawrence of Arabia DVD, Special Features portion, where Omar Sharif speaks of the camel scene filmed at 'Acaba' in Spain--the same timeframe discussed by Peter O'Toole in the 1st Letterman YouTube above. Omar mentions his fear of falling and deciding to be tied to the camel. He DOES NOT tell how the camels in Spain, unlike the ones in Arabia are NOT trained for riders. He also DOES NOT mention that he & Peter had a brandy & milk party before filming or that they were drunk during. What l wanted to hear, and was waiting for Peter to talk about (maybe he did after the break, but the video ended) was what Omar said on the DVD: that Peter actually DID fall but survived being trampled by the oncoming horses because Peter's camel stood fast over him with all fours. Omar clearly found that quite amazing if not mystical. We may be able to thank that unknown camel for the remaining 50 years of Peter's incredible career.

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