Date: 27th January 2003

Peter O'Toole to receive honorary Oscar

Peter O'Toole will receive an honorary Academy Award at this year's Oscar ceremony.

He has been nominated seven times for an Oscar for films as diverse as the historical epic Lawrence of Arabia and the nostalgic comedy My Favourite Year but has never received the accolade.

"O'Toole's performances have ignited the screen for more than four decades," Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said yesterday in announcing the award.

It will be presented during the 75th annual Academy Awards ceremony on March 23 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Its citation will read: "Peter O'Toole - whose remarkable talents have provided cinema history with some of its most memorable characters."

O'Toole, 70, made his stage debut at 17 before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He made his film debut 10 years later with a bit part in the 1959 film The Savage Innocents.

The actor shot to international fame three years later portraying legendary British adventurer TE Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. The performance brought him the first of his seven best actor Oscar nominations.

The others were for Becket (1964), Lion in Winter, The (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), Stunt Man, The (1980) and My Favourite Year (1982).

"He has appeared in some of the most unforgettable roles in the history of the medium," said Mr Pierson. "He's seven times been nominated as best actor, which puts him in extremely rarefied air for a performer. The Board of Governors felt it was time for him to hold his own Oscar in his hands."

Source: Press Release