Peter O’Toole was born in Connerama in Ireland in 1932 and moved to Hunslet, Leeds, within a year. Mainly due to illness, he had a poor education. He began working for a newspaper at the age of 14 and, for two afternoons a week, he took classes in English Literature. After national service in the Royal Navy, he won a Scholarship to RADA. He was there at the same time as Albert Finney.
He suffered from his eyes: he had eight operations on his left eye alone. He also suffered from intestinal trouble and relieved the pain by drinking. He adopted the persona of the professional Irishman, and became noted for such eccentricities as never going out with his front door keys. “I just hope some bastard’s in”, he said.
Excerpt from David Lean - A biography of the Director of Doctor Zhivago, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia by Kevin Brownlow