AAA Profile: Peter O’Toole
Recently I had the opportunity to view “Lawrence of Arabia” again, the 1962 screen classic which reaped seven Academy Awards, detailing the military career of British officer T.E. Lawrence, who led the Arab Revolt that successfully ousted centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule over the Arabian peninsula in the waning days of World War I. As always, I was taken in by the sweeping majesty of the movie, filmed over a two-year period in the Arabian desert, overwhelming in its epic scope but liberally peppered with human, humane, even humorous moments. But I was struck by the fact that despite wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography and Original Music Score, among others, none of the actors won an Oscar, not even Peter O’Toole, outstanding in the title role.
“Lawrence of Arabia” was O’Toole’s breakout performance, but it wasn’t his only Oscar snub. Nominated seven more times, four of them in the ensuing decade, the Anglo-Irish actor never took home a little gold statuette for a specific film role, despite a body of work that puts many Oscar winners to shame, including “Becket”, “The Lion in Winter” and “Goodbye Mr. Chips”. O’Toole once quipped that he was “the biggest loser in Hollywood”, but did reluctantly accept a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award in 2003, after initially refusing the honor on the grounds that he was still acting and would prefer to earn one for himself.
I’ve done extensive work over the years connecting actors with PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) which reflect their winning roles, seeing how tapped in they are to the parts that made their careers. O’Toole is no exception to this pattern, in “Lawrence” and several other films, but somehow the Academy always passed him by. I wondered why.
Born 12:15 AM GDT on 2 August 1932 in Wicklow, Ireland (Rodden Rating A), Peter O’Toole’s profession as a thespian was perhaps inevitable with asteroid Actor at 21 Libra exactly squared his 21 Capricorn Midheaven, ruling career, status and reputation. Actor is also exactly quintile the 9 Leo Sun and, enticingly, broadly conjoins asteroid Oscar at 28 Libra, also in square to the MC, though this connection proved not to be as fruitful as one might expect.
Actor is also sextile to asteroid Academia at 23 Sagittarius, for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which sponsors the Oscars. Academia is sesquiquadrate the Sun and powerfully embedded at station, about to turn direct nine days after O’Toole’s birth, but even that commanding placement wasn’t enough to garner him an outright win, though it did eventually fob him off with the honorary Oscar. Perhaps asteroid NOT, a general disqualifier, also conjunct the MC and squared Actor from 16 Capricorn, was enough to deny him the peer recognition he sought. NOT is also semisquare Nike, named for the Greek goddess of victory, at 0 Sagittarius, and exactly quintile her Roman counterpart, Victoria, at 28 Pisces, so perhaps winning just wasn’t in the cards for O’Toole.
One thing is certain, it surely wasn’t a lack of connection to the part! Asteroid Lawrence at 0 Leo not only conjoins the Sun at 9, but also the Moon at 4 Leo, Pluto at 22 Cancer and the IC at 21 Cancer, evoking the power (Pluto), pathos (Moon) and majesty (Sun) of O’Toole’s performance, which became the foundation (IC) of his career. The character of T. E. Lawrence was a part of him, deeply entrenched in his core essence (Sun) and emotional makeup (Moon), as well as a means of claiming his power (Pluto). As I have documented in the past, parts which connect to the Sun evoke an authentic, genuine performance which often yields accolades, as the actor calls on something deep within himself for the role.
Asteroid Arabia puts in a brave showing as well; at 1 Virgo, it exactly conjoins Mercury (perhaps giving O’Toole the correct “mindset” for the part) as well as Jupiter (fame, reputation) at 28 Leo and Neptune (films, acting generally) at 6 Virgo. An exact sextile to Venus at 1 Cancer ensured a popular reception, not only with the public but among critics (Mercury) who gave O’Toole and the film rave reviews. And an exact square to natal asteroid Peter at 1 Gemini reiterates O’Toole’s personal connection to the part (with the exact square from Peter to Mercury, ruling the naming function, also being one of the most common placements for one’s own PNAs).
The film’s director David Lean is also dramatically present in O’Toole’s birth chart, in the form of asteroid Davida (a feminine variation), exact on the career-making MC at 21 Cap, and Leani (closest to Lean) at 0 Taurus exactly squared Lawrence, but also squared the Sun/Moon balsamic conjunction, and trine Arabia.
When “Lawrence of Arabia” premiered in London on 10 December 1962, the Sun at 18 Sagittarius was accompanied by asteroid Arabia at 23 (ironically, itself exactly conjoined O’Toole’s natal stationary direct Academia) and Mercury at 26 Sag, which was aligned exactly with the Galactic Center, virtually guaranteeing global attention. Sun/Arabia is squared by asteroids Leani (for director Lean) and Spiegel (for the film’s producer, Sam Spiegel, who took home the “Best Picture” award) at 21 and 25 Virgo, while a stellium of Venus, Neptune and asteroid Oskar at 13, 14 and 17 Scorpio hints at the film’s universal popularity and eventual recognition by the Academy.
O’Toole is represented by asteroid Peter, which at 1 Aquarius conjoins Saturn at 7 Aquarius and is semisquare the Sun, as well as trine Davida at 2 Gemini. This reflects recognition of O’Toole as a professional (Saturn) as well as the supportive role (trine) of David Lean (Davida), who specifically sought out the relatively unknown actor for the part. Peter is also squared asteroid Academia at 3 Taurus, which, again ironically, is once more stationary direct, as at O’Toole’s birth; the close connection brought him the nomination, but not the win.
Academia is also exactly sesquiquadrate the Sun, prefiguring the superlative showing at the Academy Awards the following spring (when asteroid Lawrence would be conjoined both Saturn – peer recognition – and Nike – victory). Asteroid Lawrence at 11 Capricorn is in a Grand Trine with Academia and powerhouse Pluto at 12 Virgo, transformed into a Kite pattern by Pluto’s opposition to Jupiter at 5 Pisces, bringer of fame and fortune. Both Lawrence and Pluto have tagalong asteroids named for those goddesses of victory, with Nike at 13 Cap conjoined Lawrence, and Victoria at 10 Virgo with Pluto.
T.E. Lawrence wasn’t the only part tailor-made for O’Toole. He was also nominated twice as Best Actor for playing the same character, King Henry II of England, in 1964’s “Becket” and 1968’s “The Lion in Winter.” Again we see a strong personal connection to the character, with natal asteroid Henry at 9 Gemini conjoined asteroid Peter at 1 Gemini, and exactly sextile the 9 Leo Sun. Both asteroids Leona (Spanish for “lion”) and Winters (for “winter”) at 14 and 23 Libra conjoin Actor at 21 Libra, with Winters also conjunct Oskar at 28 Libra, but this third time nomination, for “The Lion in Winter”, was not to be the charm for O’Toole, who lost out to Cliff Robertson in “Charly”.
Similarly, O’Toole was nominated for Best Actor as Arthur Chipping in “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1969), with asteroid Arthur at 0 Sagittarius trine Sun/Moon; Elli Cross in “The Stunt Man” (1980), with asteroid Cross at 6 Pisces inconjunct Sun/Moon; Alan Swann in “My Favorite Year” (1982), with asteroid Allen at 29 Cancer conjunct the Sun/Moon and asteroid Alain at 9 Aries, stationary retrograde, in trine; and Maurice Russell in “Venus” (2006), with asteroid Mauricio in exact semisextile to the Sun from 9 Cancer and asteroid Russell at 21 Scorpio exactly conjunct the Descendant and exactly sextile the MC. Only O’Toole’s role as Jack, 14th Earl of Gurney, in 1972’s “The Ruling Class” doesn’t ft this pattern, largely because there are no asteroids suitable to these names.
When Peter O’Toole was awarded his honorary Oscar for Lifetime achievement at the 75th Academy Awards ceremony on 23 March 2003, asteroid Peter at 2 Aquarius was exactly sextile the 2 Aries Sun, putting him in the spotlight, with asteroid Victoria at 17 Sagittarius exactly semisquare Peter, bringing a sort of victory after decades of struggle for the elusive statuette. A Grand Trine of asteroid Actor at 22 Libra with Venus at 25 Aquarius and Saturn at 22 Gemini tells the tale of a beloved, popular (both Venus) thespian (Actor), aged in years (Saturn), receiving due recognition (also Saturn) at last. Asteroid Oskar opposed Actor from 18 Aries pinpoints the type of award and becomes the string of a Kite pattern, driving the Grand Trine’s potential. Significantly, Actor had just returned to its natal degree of 21 Libra, beginning a new cycle for O’Toole relating to his chosen profession.
O’Toole went on to receive one last Oscar nomination, for his role in “Venus” in 2006, again unsuccessful in the competition. He retired from acting in July 2012 after a recurrence of stomach cancer, and expired from that disease on 14 December 2013. In one final irony, the Sun at 22 Sagittarius that day illumined his natal asteroid Academia at 23 Sag, just one degree shy of exact conjunction, symbol of the lifelong will-o-wisp that had remained always just out of grasp.
Conjunct the Sun was asteroid Anubis at 27 Sagittarius, named for the ancient Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, and both trined a pairing of asteroid Peter with Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead, at 28 and 29 Aries. Both points were embedded at station; Requiem had turned direct on December 6th, just eight days before his passing, while Peter remained retrograde and made its direct station four days later. These and the transit Sun/Anubis created a synastric Grand Trine Kite pattern by opposing O’Toole’s natal asteroid Osiris at 29 Libra, named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, and trining natal asteroids Atropos, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, and Requiem, at 27 and 29 Leo.
Peter O’Toole’s body of work speaks for itself, and if his peers withheld their approbation and accolades for most of his life and career, he is justly recalled as one of the great acting talents of the Twentieth Century by critics, film historians, and the fans who loved him.