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A weekend of passages

By Rich Heldenfels Published: December 16, 2013

It would seem that Turner Classic Movies is going to have to make some big schedule adjustments, considering the passing of Peter O'Toole. Joan Fontaine and Tom Laughlin over the weekend. I will post announcements if and when they come in.

While Fontaine was a successful actress for a time, and Laughlin tapped into pop culture with some of his Billy Jack movies, the death that struck me most was O'Toole's. Here's what I said on Facebook yesterday:

RIP, Peter O'Toole, actor AND movie star. He has a lot of paycheck roles (Supergirl, say, or Club Paradise) but when he was on game, he was wonderful to watch. See: The Ruling Class (one of my favorites), The Stunt Man, Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year, The Lion in Winter, Becket, Masada, Lord Jim. Beautiful as a younger man, compelling even under the ravages of time and hard living.

O'Toole was part of my moviegoing heyday in my twenties and early thirties. He seemed made for the big screen, which amplified that beautiful face but could contain his most expansive of gestures. Yet at his best, he could balance those gestures with the slightest of looks, especially when it came to conveying amusement and cynicism. This may be why my favorites of his movies include "The Ruling Class," "The Stunt Man" and "My Favorite Year," the last all about those little looks.

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