Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 16 December 2013

2 more RIPs - Peter and Joan

Quite a lot of major RIPs lately, from Nelson Mandela to Tommy Loughlin ... but Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine will certainly create headlines - well Fontaine (always a favourite here) has been out of the limelight for years .... gratifying though to see the amount of love and affection for them both.

Peter O'Toole (1932-2013), at 81.
Here's what I said on Peter, over at IMDB: It was marvellous seeing LAWRENCE OF ARABIA for the first time on the big screen for its general release. I saw Peter on stage in 1965 - the first time I went to the theatre actually, aged 19 - in his hit play RIDE A COCK HORSE by David Mercer, with his wife Sian Phillips, Wendy Craig and Barbara Jefford. He was the golden boy of the time, after LAWRENCE and LORD JIM, which I actually liked a lot. 

We love Peter in WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? with Romy (left), Capucine, Ursula and Paula; and with the two Hepburns - HOW TO STEAL A MILLION in '66 with Audrey, and the imperishable LION IN WINTER in '68 with Katharine. MY FAVOURITE YEAR and THE RULING CLASS are also ones to see. I finally caught the 1972 MAN OF LA MANCHA last year, there's a lot wrong with it but Peter and Sophia Loren (she used to beat him at cards) are both marvellous.
He was an amazing young actor and his HAMLET opened the new National Theatre in 1963. There was also of course his legendardy MACBETH in 1980 (?) so bad it became a sell-out! But we will always have LAWRENCE and BECKET and THE LION IN WINTER. He kept working into old age too, in movies like TROY. Sian Phillips' memoir is a fascinating read on those O'Toole peak years. Does that leave just Albert Finney as the last of that great generation of hell-raisers?
Joan Fontaine (1917-2013) at 96. The star of Hitchcock's REBECCA and SUSPICION, sister of Olivia de Havilland, their famous feud was legendary. We like Joan a lot, in lots of films like THE WOMEN, JANE EYRE, IVY and THE CONSTANT NYMPH, Ophuls' LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN WOMAN which she helped produce, 
she certainly worked with interesting directors like Fritz Lang, and later co-starred with the likes of Bob Hope and Mario Lanza - I like her role in Lanza's SERENADE (see Fontaine label), where her quizzical look and raised eyebrow work overtime; she dismisses movies like these in her acidic memoir "No Bed Of Roses". Her last film THE WITCHES in 1966 was revived this summer. 
Right: Joan's pose in "Vanity Fair" a few years ago. 
Left: her white gloves and sheath halter top in ISLAND IN THE SUN, one of her '50s treats, when she was busy opposite those '50s icons like Bob Hope, Mario Lanza, Harry Belafonte, Rossano Brazzi etc. 

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