It's a wrap! Peter O'Toole says bye bye to acting

Jul 10, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Peter O'Toole is stepping away from the spotlight. After five decades of breathtaking performances, he's ready to retire. The actor has officially announced his departure from the Hollywood scene.

Peter O'Toole

Screen legend Peter O'Toole is throwing in the towel. After 50-plus years in film, television and theater, the actor is retiring. He announced the news Tuesday morning in a heartfelt letter to his fans.

The 79-year-old wrote (via Playbill):

"Dear All,

It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back. My professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort.

It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I’ve shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits. However, it’s my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one’s stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell. Ever Peter O’Toole"

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Over the course of his career, O'Toole has earned eight Academy Award nominations, including one for his star-making performance in Lawrence of Arabia. Although he's never snagged the statue in a competitive category, he received an honorary Oscar in 2003.

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But don't feel too bad for O'Toole. He's been rewarded in other ways. To his credit, he has four Golden Globes, an Emmy, a BAFTA and The Olivier Award.

O'Toole's talent and body of work can't be ignored. Aside from Arabia, other notable films include Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year and Venus.

Farewell Mr. O'Toole, and thanks for the memories.

What's your favorite Peter O'Toole film?

Photo credit: Nikki Nelson/WENN

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