Today, as the world watched the funeral of Nelson Mandela, a news flash announced the death of a legend. It was a double whammy on this 12 Kawak day, as the final farewell for Mandela was held in his childhood village, and marked with aspects of tribal tradition. And to hear of the death of one of our planet’s most treasured actors at the same time made the moment even more poignant.
NELSON MANDELA: Final Farewell on 12 Kawak (a “gathering together” day associated with compassion)
PETER O’TOOLE: born on 10 Kawak (a foundational day associated with compassion)
Quote from Peter O’Toole: I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony.
This is difficult for me to write, as I truly loved Peter O’Toole. The first time I saw him was on a gigantic screen that pulled the viewer into the epic scenes of Lawrence of Arabia in such a manner than one could almost feel the dust in your teeth. And he was so gorgeous – with that blonde hair, tanned skin, and piercing blue eyes. But there was more – so much more. He had a depth, a strength, a PRESENCE that was, in itself, epic . . . and utterly unique.
I had the good fortune to see him once, in person, on a London stage – and it was thrilling! He commanded that stage, even when he wasn’t speaking, even when he was just standing in the sidelines. Unfortunately I was in a state of extreme jet lag at the time and, at times, had difficulty keeping my eyes open. I remember, at one point, that he looked right at me – those mesmerizing blue eyes were looking back at ME! And all I wanted to do was say “Please forgive me Peter. It’s the jet lag that is making me nod off, not the play – and certainly not you.”
And so to Peter I say:
Peter – you know, of course, that we will continue to watch your movies. We will laugh with you, cry with you, watch your riveting portrayals of kings, nobility, heroes, rogues, and even fools. For legions of us you will always be “THE” Mr. Chips. But on this day I WEEP. I weep not just for your loss, but for the fact that there will be no new performances of the kind that are so wonderfully, so uniquely “You”. I will always love you and feel blessed for the gifts you brought us – your passion, your dedication to your craft, your GREAT Love of Life. Please be assured that if I had known better in those days how to deal with jet lag I would have given you my full, undivided attention.
P.S. For an amusing tribute to his uniqueness, click here.