Peter O’Toole was one of my first crushes. And in fact, I am pretty sure he must have established “my type” in men. My husband is also tall, blond, has brilliant blue eyes and is also quite quite handsome.
But that wasn’t really the reason I had such a crush on the man. Nope. I loved him because he was a bit nuts.
Just last week, I recounted this story to Darla of She’s a Maniac, but we had nothing to do with Peter’s death. Really. We both loved him. Anyway, I think I got it wrong in the telling when I mentioned it to Darla. So for Darla and the one person who read my story in Darla’s comments, sorry. I think I’m now telling the correct version. But for anybody who loved Peter O’Toole, whether for his incredible acting ability, his incredible beauty, or his nuttiness, I thought I’d pass along the story as told to me by Omar Sharif. Sadly, it was an interview on TV that I saw many years ago, and not in person.
“I was sitting there on the set of Lawrence,” said Omar of his first meeting with co-star and newbie, Peter O’Toole. And this tall blond man I’d never seen before walked up to me and introduced himself.”
“‘I’m Peter, Peter O’Toole,’ he told me.
“I’m Omar Sharif,” I responded reaching out to shake his hand.
And then Peter responded, with an impish, Irish grin on his face:
“‘Nobody is named ‘Omar.’ I shall call you ‘Fred.'”
And with a toss of his head and a resounding laugh, Fred Sharif concluded: “and he did!”
* * *
As the daughter, sister and granddaughter of Freds, I gotta love the man.
And by the way, apropos of nothing, my father grew up in a house where lived a strange trio: Fred, Fred and Ed. I’m pretty sure that’s why my Dad had such a nutty sense of humor, too.