Peter O'Toole's death on the 14th December has brought a renewed interest in the actor and his lengthy and illustrious career as well as people emerging from the fray to attest to the star's character and praise one of the old hellraisers. O'Toole's former wife, Siân Phillips, may have split acrimoniously from the Lawrence of Arabia actor but apparently holds her ex-husband in high enough esteem to be planning on attending his funeral.

Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole Burned Out In The Late 70s Due To Alcohol.

The Leeds-raised actor married the Welsh-born actress in 1959 and they had two children together, Kate and Patricia, before their 1979 divorce. "It is sad the way things worked out, but Siân did have some very happy times with Peter and a death is a time to see a whole life in perspective," a friend of Miss Phillips tells The Telegraph.

Sian Phillips
Sian Phillips' Departure Prompted The Actor To Get His Life Back On Track.

"It is all very raw still, but, even though Siân is appearing on stage in Washington at the moment, she has indicated that it is her intention to attend the private funeral." O'Toole was known for being a heavy drinker with friends Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter Finch and others. However, such a hedonistic lifestyle took a sour turn when his alcohol abuse necessitated stomach surgery, ending his 20 year marriage and nearly killing him.

Upon their divorce and in her two autobiographies, Phillips lamented her husband's extreme alcoholism and purported mental cruelties as well as his jealousy-prone personality. O'Toole was cared for by his two daughters whilst he scraped the bottom of the roles on offer to him for some time. He managed to turn his career around in 1980's critically lauded The Stunt Man in which he played the sadistic, tyrannical director Eli Cross in Richard Rush's black comedy, scooping a sixth Oscar nomination along the way.

Peter O'Toole BFI
The Actor Is Remembered By All Those Who Knew Him.

Like a phoenix, the actor continued on the path to full professional and personal recovery, beginning an ongoing relationship with California model Karen Brown, and fathering a son, Lorcan, in 1983. He remained active, respected and successful, right up to his death at the age of 81 after illness.