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Into the light...

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer
Peter O'Toole is gone.

Many years ago, when his autobiography came out, I happened to be in London The night before the signing at Harrods, to which I planned to go, I went to a West ENd play with O'Toole in it - saw him live, on stage, the man who stole my heart with those luminous mad eyes in "Lawrence of Arabia" - and he was magnificent. At the signing the next day, waiting in line, we all saw him walk in accompanied by his publicity people - tall, veyr thin, long legged (he looked like he was walking on stilts) - nothing left of "Lawrence" except thsoe burning eyes, but they were enough in themselves. he walked by the long queue of people waiting with their books, nodding and smiling at us as he passed, and installed himself in a chair behind a table at the head of the queue. When i got there, handing my book over, I said to him that I'd seen him in that play the night before. He lifted his head and transfixed me with that actinic blue gaze. "Oh? And what did you think about it?" he asked. "I thought you were wonderful," I said, truthfully. His face broke open in a wide grin, he finished signing the book, and then, when he was done, he closed the volume up and rose to his feet as he handed it to me, shaking my hand. I walked all the way back down the hall, under the baleful stare of the rest of the waiting queue, all of whose thougts were painted on their faces - WHAT IN GOD'S NAME DID SHE SAY TO HIM TO GET A *HANDSHAKE AND A SMILE*???- and I don't know if anyone else got that response, but I did, and I shook his hand. So there. Thank you, Mr O'Toole, Lawrence, Henry, Lord Jim. Thank you for being luminous, and talented, and passionate, and vivid, and bright, and beautiful. Thank you for the characters you brought alive for us. And thank you for those eyes, and the opportunity to have looked into them, and to have been seen by them.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2013 08:21 am (UTC)
Oh, what a beautiful, wonderful story. I, like everyone, was saddened to hear he'd died, but this is the first story I've read in the aftermath of his death that has brought me to tears. Oh, thank you for sharing that. What a wonderful moment. <3
Dec. 16th, 2013 08:26 am (UTC)
That's a lovely anecdote
Dec. 16th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
The fingernails on that hand must be positively atrocious by now. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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