In a statement the 79-year-old, eight-time Academy Award nominee said, "Dear All, It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back. My professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort. It has brought 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. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell. Ever Peter O’Toole"
As a young actor, Peter O'Toole worked for four years with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company, one year each at the Royal Court and the Stratford Memorial Theatre and six months with the National Theatre. He was also a member of the Abbey Theatre Company, artistic director of the Royal Alexandra Theatre and associate director of the Old Vic. His performance as T.E. Lawrence in the 1962 film "Lawrence of Arabia" catapulted the actor to international stardom. He has since appeared in more than 60 films and received Oscar nominations for his work in "My Favorite Year" (1982), "The Stunt Man" (1980), "The Ruling Class" (1972), "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (1969), "The Lion in Winter" (1968), "Becket" (1964) and "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962).
O’Toole has won the BAFTA Award, four Golden Globes, the Emmy and numerous other theatre and cinema awards, including in 2000 The Olivier Award for his performance as Jeff in Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell at The Old Vic Theatre, London.
In 2003 he was awarded an Honorary Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.