"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," O'Toole wrote in a statement. "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."
O'Toole appeared on Broadway in the 1987 revival of Pygmalion and in numerous other stage productions, including Hamlet, Juno and the Paycock, Uncle Vanya, Present Laughter, King Lear, Man and Superman, and Waiting for Godot.
He was nominated for the Oscar eight times for his roles in Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year, and Venus, and received an Honorary Oscar in 2003.
His many other film and television credits include Caligula, Man of La Mancha, Joan of Arc, Masada, and The Tudors.