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TOH! Remembers the Leading Men the Film Community Lost in 2013

Thompson on Hollywood By TOH! | Thompson on Hollywood December 24, 2013 at 11:00AM

As part of our "TOH! Remembers" series, our contributors look back on the leading men the film community lost this year, from Peter O'Toole to James Gandolfini, Paul Walker and more.
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Paul Walker

Who: Paul Walker

Born: 1973

Died: 2013

Known for: His lead recurring role as Brian O'Connor in the global hit "Fast and Furious" franchise.

Career breakout: Before F&F, Walker scored three big-screen supporting roles following mostly TV work with "Pleasantville," "Varsity Blues" and "She's All That."

High point: Being part of one of the most successful action franchises of the Millennium thus far.

Low point: Forgettable thriller entry "The Skulls," a Walker film immediately preceding the first "Fast and Furious" film (and made by the same director).

Yes, it's true: Chalk it up as a tragic irony of an untimely demise: At the time he was killed Saturday in a Los Angeles auto mishap at the ridiculously young age of 40, Paul Walker was less than two weeks away from seeing how movie audiences and VOD viewers would respond to what arguably was the finest performance of his career up to that point, in indie "Hours," as a desperate father who triumphs over death. --Joe Leydon and Beth Hanna

 

Who: Peter O'Toole

Born: 1932

Lawrence of Arabia

Died: 2013

Known for: Playing the charismatic and tortured T. E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 masterpiece “Lawrence of Arabia,” which made him an instant movie star.

Career breakout: "Lawrence of Arabia"

High point: Although O’Toole’s performance as the flamboyant, perhaps homosexual soldier who rode through the desert enlisting desert tribes to fight against the Turks and for the British in World War I lost the Oscar to Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” it is now considered one of the eight or 10 best movie performances of all time.

Low point: Though nominated for eight Oscars, he never won one. (He was often eccentrically bad on stage, never quite fulfilling critic Kenneth Tynan’s words that at his best O’Toole’s performances “may presage greatness.”  He frittered away some of his promise with drinking companions Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Robert Shaw, Peter Finch, and Laurence Harvey.)

Yes, it's true: When he was given an honorary award in 2003, O’Toole, who had survived a series of almost fatal illnesses including stomach cancer in the 1970s, tried to turn the award down, writing the Academy that he was “still in the game.”  In 1987, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, the actor, who had protested against the Vietnam War, turned down a knighthood. --Aljean Harmetz

Up next: TOH! remembers the leading ladies the film community lost in 2013.

This article is related to: Features, Features, Obit, James Gandolfini, Paul Walker, Peter O'Toole


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