Monday, December 16, 2013

"Peter O'Toole on the Ould Sod"

Peter O'Toole 1964, Douglas Kirkland

An excerpt from Peter O'Toole on the Ould Sod by Gay Talese • ESQUIRE • AUGUST 1963

O’Toole, unaware of the priest, smiled as the stewardess brought his drink. She was a floridly robust little blonde in a tight green tweed uniform.

“Oh, look at that ass,” O’Toole said softly, shaking his head, raising his eyes with approval. “That ass is covered with tweed made in Connnemara, where I was born… Nicest asses in the world, Ireland. Irish-women still are carrying water on their heads and carrying their husbands home from pubs, and such things are the greatest posture builders in the world.”

Peter O'Toole passed away a few days ago on December 14th.

Gay Talese's Esquire article is well worth your time. Talese takes a trip with O'Toole a couple years after Lawrence of Arabia, to where he grew up. It starts innocently enough with O'Toole in full on mode in excitement of flying home to Ireland and ends up with him drunk and laying in the grass on the side of a mountain, writing his name backward.

I chose the quote above because it reminds me of flying with my grandmother to England some 15 years ago. Her home. I remember how excited she was. We were flying Virgin Atlantic and I distinctly remember her leaning over to me and devilishly muttering something very similar after a female flight attendant passed by, trying to get me to talk with her.

My grandmother is ten years O'Toole's senior and only just now slowing down. Stubborn lot, them. Some might say the best lot. I would not disagree. "So many great things from such a tiny little island," as she is known to say.

Peter O'Toole is more than any words I can type here. Seek out his work, or if one of his movies comes on television... stop, watch.

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