Tributes flood in for 'Lawrence of Arabia' star O'Toole

Tributes flood in for 'Lawrence of Arabia' star O'Toole

LONDON - Tributes and tales of carousing poured in Monday after the death of legendary actor Peter O'Toole, whose hellraising antics could not outshine his star turn in Oscar-winning epic "Lawrence of Arabia".

Actors, critics and politicians lined up to tell colourful stories about the Irish icon, who died on Saturday aged 81 after a lifetime of greatness on stage and screen - and drink-fuelled chaos in the wings.

His daughter, actress Kate O'Toole, said the family was "overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection" for the star who was nominated for a record eight Oscars but only received an honorary Oscar in 2003.

Michael Gambon, the veteran British actor, said his old friend was a "great actor."

"I think it was his early years that were the best really. He was great fun to be with and he'll be missed badly," Gambon, known most recently for his role as Professor Dumbledore in most of the Harry Potter movies, told the BBC.

Gambon said that when they first met at the National Theatre in London in the early 1960s when O'Toole was playing Hamlet, the pair went to the pub every night and "used to drink an awful lot."

"There won't be any more like that, will there? I think they've all gone now," he said.

Newspapers were full of stories about O'Toole's drinking antics, alongside pictures of him either in his blonde blue-eyed prime as Lawrence, or as the elegantly wasted older "luvvie".

The tales ranged from when he and fellow actor Michael Caine bought a pub in order to get a drink after closing time - the landlord later tore up the cheque - to the time he went for a drink in Paris and woke up in Corsica.

News channels showed footage of him riding into a television interview on the back of a camel, grasping the reins in one hand and an ebony cigarette holder in the other. He then proceeded to give the camel a can of lager.

British actor John Standing said O'Toole was "fearless."

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