Saturday 24 March 2018

Farewell Peter, we'll certainly 'moose' you!

Mary Fogarty

The actor Peter O'Toole, who died last Saturday at the age of 81, was a friend of Wicklow, and in particular Bray.

The legendary Hollywood star stayed in the town many times, including during 1960s when he filmed 'What's New Pussy Cat,' at Ardmore Studios with Woody Allen.

O'Toole favoured The Harbour Bar, owned by his namesakes, as his watering hole during his visits to Bray. He often needed help back to his hotel The International from a fellow O'Toole.

As a token of his appreciation he donated a mounted moose's head used as a prop in the film to owners Paul and Des.

It arrived on the back of a truck, with a note, simply, 'Best regards, Peter O'Toole.'

The head still remains proudly on display in the lounge. It has been photographed with patrons; dusted painstakingly by lounge staff and has knocked at least one customer on the head with its pointy antlers.

Mr O'Toole rose to fame 50 years ago in the title role of Lawrence of Arabia, which earned seven Oscars, including best picture and director for David Lean.

He also appealed to younger audiences across the generations with roles in films such as Supergirl, Ratatouille and King Ralph.

More recently O'Toole worked in Bray for the final time with his role as Pope Paul III in award-winning drama The Tudors.

He was nominated for eight Academy Awards but never won. He received an Honorary Award for his work in film from the Academy in 2003.

Peter received Oscar nominations for 1964's Becket, 1968's The Lion in Winter, 1969's Goodbye, Mr Chips, 1972's The Ruling Class, 1980's The Stunt Man and 1982's My Favourite Year.

'Ireland, and the world, has lost one of the giants of film and theatre,' said President Michael D. Higgins. 'I was privileged to know him as a friend since 1969. All of us who knew him in the west will miss his warm humour and generous friendship.'

Bray People