Veteran British actor Peter O’Toole, praised for his roles in classic films such as Lawrence of Arabia, has announced his retirement from acting in films and on stage.
O’Toole – who is 80 next month – said in a statement: “It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back.”
O’Toole said that his career, which has included eight Academy Award nominations – without a win – “has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort”.
“It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I’ve shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits.”
But he added: “It’s my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one’s stay.”
Early in his career, O’Toole began to make a name for himself on stage in several key Shakespearean roles, including an acclaimed Hamlet, before gaining fame in films such as Goodbye, Mr Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man and My Favourite Year.
His last Oscar nomination was for Best Actor in the 2006 movie Venus. He won an honorary Oscar in 2003 for his numerous memorable roles.
However, he did win four Golden Globes, a Bafta and an Emmy.
O’Toole, known as a hard-drinking hellraiser in his younger days, said he is now spending his time working on the third volume of his memoirs.
He finished his statement by saying: “I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.”