There are actors who hit a nerve with us, and who, through their performances, choices, and chronicled lives we feel we have somehow come to know, if only as a strange, distant fascination. Peter O'Toole was one of those characters for me, a larger than life, charismatic hell-raiser whose eyes seemed to belie a certain impish flamboyance in his every appearance. Though I feel I had always been aware of his role in 1962's epic Lawrence of Arabia, it was his turn opposite Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million where I think I first encountered him. He was a dapper sort of spindly-legged cartoon, a person who looked like a bonafide movie star and who had such an air of likability about him that, as time wore on, tales of his boozy history revealed themselves as amusing footnotes to his curiously eccentric public persona. I've long been fascinated by Peter O'Toole, through Lawrence, to How to Steal..., to What's New Pussycat?, The Lion in Winter, Becket, and (one of my personal favorites) to his bravura, wickedly maniacal turn in The Ruling Class. Though O'Toole has been something of a scarce presence since 2006's Venus, it saddens me to know that there will be no more interviews, award show appearances, or witticisms from Peter O'Toole (and do, when you have the chance, check out this classic). The actor passed away yesterday at age 81. He was one of the great ones.