O'Toole Turns Down Honorary Oscar
Good for him, I admire his attitude!
Actor Peter O'Toole Rebuffs Honorary Oscar
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For all the accolades handed out in Hollywood, it's rare to find a performer who is unwilling to accept one. But Peter O'Toole (news) is no ordinary entertainer.
Academy Award organizers want to present the eccentric 70-year-old Irish actor with an honorary Oscar, but he says he won't be ready to accept such an award for at least another decade.
In a brief, hand-written open letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (news - web sites), O'Toole politely suggested that receiving an honorary Oscar might preclude him from eventually winning a competitive statuette.
O'Toole has earned seven Oscar nominations as best actor, starting with his 1962 title role in "Lawrence of Arabia," but has never won.
Describing what he thought about an honorary Oscar being in the offing, he wrote: "I was enchanted but said that as I was still in the game and might yet win the lovely bugger outright, would the Academy please defer the honor until I am 80?"
Academy President Frank Pierson responded by saying the award was for "achievement and contribution to the art of the motion picture, not for retirement," and that the academy's Board of Governors had "unanimously and enthusiastically voted you the honorary because you've earned and deserve it."
"It will be there for you at the awards ceremony March 23, and we hope you'll be there with us," Pierson wrote. "If not, it will be at the academy for you to pick up when you're 80, or whenever you're ready."
Academy spokesman John Pavlik told Reuters on Thursday the academy chooses its award designees regardless of whether they plan to show up. And while winning actors such as Marlon Brando (news) and George C. Scott have snubbed the Oscars (news - web sites), no one can remember an honorary recipient refusing to accept one.
Academy officials also noted that other movie greats, among them Henry Fonda (news) and Paul Newman (news), have received an honorary award and gone on to win a statuette competitively.
"There's an inaccurate perception out there that if you get one of these things, that your career is over, and we don't feel that way at all," Pavlik said.