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Friday, 31 January, 2003, 18:14 GMT
O'Toole 'silly' to decline Oscar
Peter O'Toole
O'Toole says he wants to wait to win an Oscar outright

Veteran actor Peter O'Toole has been urged to reconsider his decision to reject an honorary Oscar.

Academy Awards ceremony producer Gil Cates said he was "surprised" to hear that the 70-year-old star wanted to defer the honour for a decade.

O'Toole said it was because he was "still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright".

Gil Cates
Mr Cates is producing his 11th Oscars ceremony
"I wish I were friendly enough with him to call him on the phone and say, 'Awfully silly - you should really take it and your career will be what your career will be,'" Mr Cates said.

O'Toole - who has never won an Oscar despite seven nominations - would normally be expected to pick up his honorary statuette during the 75th Academy Awards show on 23 March.

He is best known for epics such as Lawrence of Arabia and The Last Emperor.

Mr Cates is currently planning the content of the Oscars ceremony and will produce the show for the 11th time.

PETER O'TOOLE'S OSCAR NOMINATIONS
1962 - Lawrence of Arabia
1965 - Becket
1969 - The Lion in Winter
1970 - Goodbye Mr Chips
1973 - The Ruling Class
1981 - The Stunt Man
1983 - My Favorite Year
The segment paying tribute to the recipient of an honorary award usually forms a major part of the evening - the highlight being a montage of the star's greatest moments on film.

"If he doesn't appear on the show nothing will happen and he will pick up the Academy Award when he wants to," Mr Cates said.

"If he does appear on the show we'll prepare a suitable piece to honour him.

"I have a feeling that it's going to resolve itself probably this week - he'll either say he'll be there or he won't," he added.

O'Toole has already been reassured by Academy President Frank Pierson that the award is for "achievement and contribution to the art of the motion picture, not for retirement".

Mr Cates, a member of the Academy's board of governors, questioned O'Toole's apparent understanding that an honorary Oscar marks the end of an actor's career.

'Foolish'

"Frankly, I think it's silly," he said. "I don't think people hire you - or not hire you - based on whether you've got an honorary Oscar.

"They hire you based on whether you can do the role or whether you pass the medical and if you don't pass the medical and can't do the role you're not going to get hired.

"So I think the whole concept of that - this is me personally speaking not the Academy - is foolish."

In 1987, Paul Newman was given the Academy's honorary Oscar for his film career.

He accepted the award via videotape from the set of The Color of Money and told the audience: "[I] hope that my best work is down the pike, ahead of me and not behind."

The following year, Newman was named best actor for The Color of Money.

See also:

29 Jan 03 | Entertainment
26 Jan 03 | Entertainment
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