I did quite enjoy the days when one went for a beer at one’s local in Paris and woke up in Corsica
The enigmatic actor who made his name in theatre, but shot to stardom with his role as the eponymous Lawrence of Arabia was a rare breed of intelligent sensitivity and drunken hellraiser. Famously nominated for 8 oscars without winning one, he was a hugely talented man who walked the line between melodrama and enigma better than anyone else.
Born in Connemara, Ireland and brought up in Leeds, he spent his childhood at a Catholic school where he learned to read early on, and had aspirations to be a writer. During his first job as such he was told his prose was too ‘colourful’, and, after hitchhiking to Stratford to watch King Lear, decided to pursue a career in acting instead. Before he made his Hollywood debut as Lawrence, he had been working on the stage for years, enticing audiences with his dazzling presence and raucous imaginative takes on roles - it was said that he ‘could make Connemara and Leeds sound Athenian’.
After his breakout role in 1962 Peter starred in a number of acclaimed films, earning 3 oscar nods in the 1960s. He also became known for his off-screen persona - a hard drinking, fun-loving and anarchic epitome of the swinging sixties. He continued to work on both stage and screen for the rest of his life, earning plaudits, acclaim, and criticism in varying amounts. He earned his last oscar nomination in 2006, over 40 years after his first. Despite never winning, he was awarded an honorary lifetime achievement award in 2003 in recognition of his talent and contributions to the industry.