Actor Peter O’Toole has died, according to The Guardian.

O’Toole, who starred in ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ was 81.

His agent Steve Kenis said he died on Saturday at a London hospital following a long illness.

More from AP: LONDON -- Known on the one hand for his starring role in "Lawrence of Arabia,'' leading tribesmen in daring attacks across the deseKnown on the one hand for his starring role in "Lawrence of Arabia,'' leading tribesmen in daring attacks across the desert wastes, and on the other for his headlong charges into drunken debauchery, Peter O'Toole was one of the most magnetic, charismatic and fun figures in British acting.

O'Toole, who died Saturday at age 81 at the private Wellington Hospital in London after a long bout of illness, was nominated a record eight times for an Academy Award without taking home a single statue.

He was fearsomely handsome, with burning blue eyes and a penchant for hard living which long outlived his decision to give up alcohol. Broadcaster Michael Parkinson told Sky News television it was hard to be too sad about his passing.

"Peter didn't leave much of life unlived, did he?'' he said.

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  • This undated photo shows Actor Peter O'Toole. O'Toole, the charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, has died. He was 81. O'Toole's agent Steve Kenis says the actor died Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at a hospital following a long illness.

  • In this July 27, 1974 file photo, Actor Peter O'Toole, right, speaks to film director Otto Preminger, during shooting of "Rosebud" in Paris, France. O'Toole, the charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, has died. He was 81. O'Toole's agent Steve Kenis says the actor died Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at a hospital following a long illness.

  • In this Aug. 30, 1965 file photo, Actor Peter O'Toole poses for a scene from his new film named "How to Steal a Million Dollars and Live Happily Ever After" during shooting in France. O'Toole, the charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, has died. He was 81. O'Toole's agent Steve Kenis says the actor died Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at a hospital following a long illness.

  • This 1965 file photo released by 20th Century Fox shows actor Peter O'Toole in a scene from "How to Steal a Million Dollars and Live Happily Ever After." O'Toole, the charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, has died. He was 81. O'Toole's agent Steve Kenis says the actor died Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at a hospital following a long illness.

  • In this undated photo Actor Peter O'Toole is shown. O'Toole, the charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, has died. He was 81. O'Toole's agent Steve Kenis says the actor died Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at a hospital following a long illness.

  • In this Dec. 23, 1980 file photo, actor Peter O'Toole smokes during an interview at his London home. O'Toole, the charismatic actor who achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, has died. He was 81. O'Toole's agent Steve Kenis says the actor died Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at a hospital following a long illness.

  • Harry Secombe, voted 'Show Business Personality of 1959' and Peter O'Toole, 'Stage Actor of 1959' for his performance in 'The Long and the Short and the Tall,' drink a toast after receiving their silver heart awards from the Variety Club of Great Britain at the eighth annual show business awards. The veteran actor, who shot to fame in the Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia, has died aged 81, his agent Steve Kenis said today.

  • File photo dated 18/2/1986 of Peter O'Toole rehearsing The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw, with his leading lady Susannah York, at the Theatre Royal. The veteran actor, who shot to fame in the Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia, has died aged 81, his agent Steve Kenis said today.

  • File photo dated 18/9/1972 of Actor Peter O'Toole and his actress wife Sian Phillips in Heathrow Airport. The veteran actor, who shot to fame in the Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia, has died aged 81, his agent Steve Kenis said today.

  • File photo dated 13/12/1961 of Peter O'Toole with his actress wife Sian Phillips at London Airport. The veteran actor, who shot to fame in the Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia, has died aged 81, his agent Steve Kenis said today.

  • Actor Peter O'Toole sits astride the Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle on which T.E Lawrence met his death in 1935. The actor's arrival at the Odean Marble Arch marked a new version of the film 'Lawrence of Arabia' which was directed by David Lean.

  • Actor Peter O'Toole at the 8th Show Business Awards of the Variety Club of Great Britain, where he received the Stage Actor of the Year 1959 award, for his performance in The Long and the Short and the Tall.

  • Sir Alec Guinness (left) studies a photograph of Prince Feisal, who he is portraying in the film Lawrence of Arabia. Looking on his Peter O'Toole, who plays the title role in the film.

  • Peter O'Toole and his wife Sian Phillips pose with a camel in Jordan, where filming is taking place for Lawrence of Arabia.

  • Actor Peter O'Toole and his actress wife Sian Phillips at London Airport just before they board an aer Lingus liner for Dublin. The couple are travelling to Ireland so that their child is born an Irish citizen.

  • Actor Peter O'Toole gives a good-luck kiss to new bride Gloria Nugent, who was just married at Caxton Hall register office in London to Irish actor-director Jack MacGowran. The bride is the sister of Irish baronet Sir Peter Nugent, of Donore, County Westmeath, Ireland. Mr MacGowran is to work with Peter O'Toole in the forthcoming film version of Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting For Godot'.

  • 21-year-old Israeli actress Dahlia Lavi and Peter O'Toole are set to star in the new film version of Joseph Conrad's 'Lord Jim'. She was chosen for the role after a worldwide search and is pictured with Peter in Hong Kong, where part of the film is being shot. Dahlia, a former ballet dancer is married to an Italian, Marquis Gianfranco Pialentini, made her American film debut in 'Two Weeks in Another Town'.

  • Film star Peter O'Toole hands Prime Minister Harold Wilson a cup of tea at the United Nations Association's (UNA) garden party held at 10 Downing Street, London. In the centre of the picture is Steptoe and Son actor Harry H. Corbett. The garden party was held to raise funds for the Association's work and guests included members of the Diplomatic Corps and prominent people in the Entertainment world. The UNA was founded in 1945 to support and strengthen the United Nations through education, influence and practical activities.

  • Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole as a sad couple on a park bench during during location shooting in Paris. The two actors are appearing in new comedy 'How to Steal a Million Dollars and Live Happily Ever After', which is directed by William Wyler.

  • Actor Peter O'Toole takes a break in the Jordanian Desert, where he is filming scenes for Lawrence of Arabia.

  • Peter O'Toole takes a break from filming in the Jordanian Desert, where he is making Lawrence of Arabia.

  • Film star Peter O'Toole enjoys a game of football during a break in filming for Lawrence of Arabia.

  • Actor Peter O'Toole arrives at Heathrow Airport from America. Accompanying him are his wife Sian and four-year-old daughter Kate.

  • Peter O'Toole is pictured on horseback during the filming of Becket, which is being made at Shepperton Studios in Surrey.

  • The Queen, in a white silk faille gown, shakes hands with Peter O'Toole when she meets him and other personalities before the world charity premiere of "Lawrence of Arabia' at the Odeon, Leicester Square.

  • Actor Peter O'Toole, right, with actor Jeffrey Bernard outside The Coach and Horses pub in Soho. Mr O'Toole is to play the writer in a play devised by Keith Waterhouse 'Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell' which opens in the West End.

  • Warmly clad in what he calls his 'cowboy suit' -- green leather jacket with matching slacks, actor Peter O'Toole leaves Heathrow airport for Venice with his actress wife Sian Phillips.

A reformed -- but unrepentant -- hell-raiser, O'Toole long suffered from ill health. Always thin, he had grown wraithlike in later years, his famously handsome face eroded by years of outrageous drinking.

But nothing diminished his flamboyant manner and candour.

"If you can't do something willingly and joyfully, then don't do it,'' he once said. "If you give up drinking, don't go moaning about it; go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Wilt.''

O'Toole began his acting career as one of the most exciting young talents on the British stage. His 1955 "Hamlet,'' at the Bristol Old Vic, was critically acclaimed.

International stardom came in David Lean's epic "Lawrence of Arabia.'' With only a few minor movie roles behind him, O'Toole was unknown to most moviegoers when they first saw him as T.E. Lawrence, the mythic British World War I soldier and scholar who led an Arab rebellion against the Turks.

His sensitive portrayal of Lawrence's complex character garnered O'Toole his first Oscar nomination, and the spectacularly photographed desert epic remains his best known role. O'Toole was tall, fair and strikingly handsome, and the image of his bright blue eyes peering out of an Arab headdress in Lean's film was unforgettable.

Playwright Noel Coward once said that if O'Toole had been any prettier, they would have had to call the movie
"Florence of Arabia.''

Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday the movie was his favourite film, calling O'Toole's performance "stunning.''

In 1964's "Becket,'' O'Toole played King Henry II to Richard Burton's Thomas Becket, and won another Oscar nomination. Burton shared O'Toole's fondness for drinking, and their off-set carousing made headlines.

O'Toole played Henry again in 1968 in "The Lion in Winter,'' opposite Katharine Hepburn, for his third Oscar nomination.

Four more nominations followed: in 1968 for "Goodbye, Mr. Chips,'' in 1971 for "The Ruling Class,'' in 1980 for "The Stunt Man,'' and in 1982 for "My Favorite Year.'' It was almost a quarter-century before he received his eighth and last, for "Venus.''

Seamus Peter O'Toole was born Aug. 2, 1932, the son of Irish bookie Patrick "Spats'' O'Toole and his wife Constance. There is some question about whether Peter was born in Connemara, Ireland, or in Leeds, northern England, where he grew up, but he maintained close links to Ireland, even befriending the country's now-president, Michael D. Higgins.

Ireland and the world have "lost one of the giants of film and theatre,'' Higgins said in a statement.

After a teenage foray into journalism at the Yorkshire Evening Post and national military service with the navy, a young O'Toole auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and won a scholarship.

He went from there to the Bristol Old Vic and soon was on his way to stardom, helped along by an early success in 1959 at London's Royal Court Theatre in "The Long and The Short and The Tall.''

The image of the renegade hell-raiser stayed with O'Toole for decades, although he gave up drinking in 1975 following serious health problems and major surgery.

He did not, however, give up smoking unfiltered Gauloises cigarettes in an ebony holder. That and his penchant for green socks, voluminous overcoats and trailing scarves lent him a rakish air and suited his fondness for drama in the old-fashioned "bravura'' manner.

A month before his 80th birthday in 2012, O'Toole announced his retirement from a career that he said had fulfilled him emotionally and financially, bringing "me together with fine people, good companions with whom I've shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits.''

"However, it's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay,'' he said. "So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.''

In retirement, O'Toole said he would focus on the third volume of his memoirs.

Good parts were sometimes few and far between, but "I take whatever good part comes along,'' O'Toole told The Independent on Sunday newspaper in 1990.

"And if there isn't a good part, then I do anything, just to pay the rent. Money is always a pressure. And waiting for the right part - you could wait forever. So I turn up and do the best I can.''

The 1980 "Macbeth'' in which he starred was a critical disaster of heroic proportions. But it played to sellout audiences, largely because the savaging by the critics brought out the curiosity seekers.

"The thought of it makes my nose bleed,'' he said years later.

In 1989, however, O'Toole had a big stage success with "Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell,'' a comedy about his old drinking buddy, the legendary layabout and ladies' man who wrote The Spectator magazine's weekly "Low Life'' column when he was sober enough to do so.

The honorary Oscar came 20 years after his seventh nomination for "My Favorite Year.'' By then it seemed a safe bet that O'Toole's prospects for another nomination were slim. He was still working regularly, but in smaller roles unlikely to earn awards attention.

O'Toole graciously accepted the honorary award, quipping, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, my foot,'' as he clutched his Oscar statuette.

He had nearly turned down the award, sending a letter asking that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hold off on the honorary Oscar until he turned 80.

Hoping another Oscar-worthy role would come his way, O'Toole wrote: "I am still in the game and might win the bugger outright.''

The last chance came in, for "Venus,'' in which he played a lecherous old actor consigned to roles as feeble-minded royals or aged men on their death beds. By failing again to win, he broke the tie for futility which had been shared with Richard Burton, his old drinking buddy.

O'Toole divorced Welsh actress Sian Phillips in 1979, after 19 years of marriage. The couple had two daughters, Kate and Pat.

A brief relationship with American model Karen Somerville led to the birth of his son Lorcan in 1983, and a change of lifestyle for O'Toole.

After a long custody battle, a U.S. judge ruled Somerville should have her son during school vacations, and O'Toole would have custody during the school year.

"The pirate ship has berthed,'' he declared, happily taking on the responsibilities of fatherhood. He learned to coach schoolboy cricket and, when he was in a play, the curtain time was moved back to allow him part of the evenings at home with his son.

O'Toole's death was announced by agent Steve Kenis, who said the actor had been ill for some time.

His daughter Kate said the family had been overwhelmed by the expressions of sympathy.

"In due course there will be a memorial filled with song and good cheer, as he would have wished,'' she said in the statement.
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AP writer Raphael Satter contributed to this report.

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