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Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton: Kindred Spirits

By Andrew Burgon /
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November 19, 2013

Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton shared a great friendship of warmth and mutual admiration.

Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton were close friends for a time and enjoyed each other’s company immensely. It has been said that O’Toole saw Burton as a soul mate.

They knew each other well before their careers took off having been neighbors that lived only a hundred yards from each other in Hampstead, North London.  Both of them would pal around playing billiards which they both loved and talking about rugby. Of these days Peter O’Toole said, “He’d come to my place or I’d go to his and then we’d carry each other home.” This no doubt refers to their legendary ability when it came to consuming alcohol.

Eventually, opportunities to act together would come their way the first of which was in the 1964 film Becket. They had notorious reputations but surprised everyone the first ten days of filming by only drinking cups of teas.

The sobriety didn’t last though. Eventually, Burton said to O’Toole mustering up his best Irish accent, “Peter, me boy, I think we deserve a little snifter!” The booze up lasted two nights and a day.

Immediately afterwards they had to film a scene in the movie where the King places a ring on Becket’s finger making him Chancellor of England. Still under the influence O’Toole described it as somewhat like “trying to thread a needle with boxing gloves.”

Unfortunately, Richard’s wife, Elizabeth Taylor, found it difficult to tolerate their antics together and put an end to the relationship.

Eventually, I’ll get around to writing about the two in more detail. This post is just to showcase a great video on Youtube that highlights their close relationship.

Gold Moroon Top Line

Peter O’toole Richard Burton Gallery


Photo of Richard Burton as Arthur from the original Broadway production of Camelot. It ran on Broadway from 1960 to 1963.

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