Death of a screen legend who sang in just one musical

Death of a screen legend who sang in just one musical


norman lebrecht

December 15, 2013

Peter O’Toole, who died today aged 81, starred in such deathless movies as Lawrence of Arabia, Becket and The Lion in Winter.

Anyone remember his only musical? He was not always in tune.

peter o'toole


  • leboyfriend says:

    No he wasn’t always in tune but he did sell the hell out of the song!

  • SergioM says:

    OOPS! That wasn’t O’Toole first musical. You forgot the the 1969 MGM musical remake of Goodbye Mr. Chips with Petula Clark he made before La Mancha

  • The whole point of the stage version of “Man of la Mancha” is that they never actually leave the prison. When I heard that the movie was abandoning that convention, I knew that watching it would not be a productive use of my time.

  • Richard Russell says:

    Of course he didn’t do the singing. the Singer was someone named Simon Gilbert (according to IMDB).

  • Yes – “Goodbye Mr. Chips” and “Man of La Mancha” were his TWO musicals.

  • David Boxwell says:

    The real story is that he actually lived to be 81.

    • Absolutely. I remember seeing photos of him in the press when he did his sadly legendary Macbeth back in 1980 or so and thinking he’d be lucky to make it to 55. A group of us used to have regular drinks with Richard Harris in the mid-1990’s and he was as as astonished as anyone that he and O’Toole were still around to tell any kind of tale at all. Great man, will be sadly missed.

  • V.Lind says:

    Goodbye Mr. Chips was a much better movie. And apparently he did his own singing in it. It was not a musical in the La Mancha class, rather a film with some music interspersed, but it is possibly the best version of the Hilton book ever filmed.

  • paulkelly20 says:

    Didn’t he sing in The Ruling Class? Wonderful film.

  • He might not have sung in many musicals, but the score Maurice Jarre wrote for, perhaps, his best known film Laurence of Arabia was of stella quality.

    Radio 3 played the entreact on its breakfast show this morning. I’d forgotten just how good it was.