THE ASHES OF legendary actor Peter O’Toole are being kept at Áras an Uachtarain as his family arranges their burial in Co Galway.
Speaking at an event held to commemorate star’s life in London’s Old Vic at the weekend, O’Toole’s daughter said President Michael D Higgins was ‘minding’ them for her.
“I brought my father’s ashes home to Ireland where they are currently in safe deposit with the President,” Kate O’Toole said.
The President was guest of honour at yesterday’s event, which was also attended by Old Vic Artistic Director Kevin Spacey, and a number of other well-known stars.
Higgins, an old friend of the actor, paid a warm tribute to O’Toole in his speech, saying he had lived life to the full, and delivered performances of “grace and style”over his long career.
“The Peter O’Toole that I knew and loved was a man of immense charm, grace, intelligence and eloquence who was assiduously professional about the vocation of acting,” Higgins said.
To be in his company or to share his friendship was not an experience in the raising of hell – as some tabloids would have it – rather it was about the witness of great talent, mischief, and genius too.
“Peter was above all ‘graceful’ in every fibre of his being. I see him stretching his long arms and fingers to say the word ‘fiasco’ as no-one ever enunciated it before or will again. I miss him.
“To have had his friendship was a great gift. I imagine Peter’s soul still walking the Sky Road in Clifden, on guard against the return of the rabbits, still coaching cricket and still shouting at the television.
“Ni fheicimid a leithead arís – We will not see his like again.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis – May his soul always loiter on the right hand of his chosen God.
O’Toole, widely regarded as one of the most gifted actors of his generation, died in London last December at the age of 81.
The actor found fame as the lead role in Lawrence of Arabia in 1962 and was critically acclaimed during his career spanning five decades on stage and screen.