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OTRC: Peter O'Toole dead at age 81

Actor Peter O'Toole, best known for his role in "Lawrence of Arabia," has died. He was 81.

According to Steve Kenis, O'Toole's agent, the actor died Saturday in the hospital following a long illness.

His daughter, Kate, said in a statement the family was overwhelmed "by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. .. In due course there will be a memorial filled with song and good cheer, as he would have wished."

O'Toole's role in 1962's "Lawrence of Arabia" earned him his first Oscar nomination. He was last nominated for "Venus" in 2006. With that he set the record for most nominations without ever winning, though he had accepted an honorary Oscar in 2003. O'Toole announced his retirement from acting in 2012, just weeks before his 80th birthday.

O'Toole was born in Ireland on Aug. 2, 1932 and was raised in Leeds in England. He served in the Royal Navy, attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and appeared in Shakespearean plays in his native United Kingdom before he began his on-screen career in the 1950s.

He played a soldier on an episode of the British series "The Scarlet Pimpernel." He would later play a different military role in "Lawrence of Arabia" that would launch him to international stardom. In the film, he played real-life British Army Officer T.E. Lawrence. The iconic movie depicted the military figure's experiences and conflicted loyalties during the Allies' campaign in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I.

The movie won seven Oscars, including Best Picture. O'Toole was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role but lost to Gregory Peck of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

O'Toole was later nominated in the same category seven more times. He scored nods for playing 12th-century King Henry II in both "Becket" (Rex Harrison won for "My Fair Lady") and "The Lion in Winter" (Cliff Robertson won for "Charly").

He was also nominated for Academy Awards for his performances in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (John Wayne won for "True Grit"), "The Ruling Class," (Marlon Brando won for "The Godfather"), "The Stunt Man" (Robert De Niro won for "Raging Bull"), "My Favorite Year" (Ben Kingsley won for "Gandhi") and "Venus" in 2007 (Forest Whitaker won for "The Last King of Scotland").

O'Toole received an honorary Academy Award in 2003. It was presented to him by Meryl Streep. The actor said in his acceptance speech: "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride my foot! I have my very own Oscar now to be with me till death us do part."

O'Toole also had his handprints and footprints immortalized in cement at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in 2011.

UPDATE: Helen Slater, who starred with O'Toole in the 1984 movie "Supergirl," issued a statement to OTRC.com, in which she recalled a fond memory about the actor - check out what she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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