Peter O'Toole "Chucks in the Sponge" & Retires from Acting

The eight-time Oscar nominee and legendary Lawrence of Arabia star announces that he's ending his career at age 79

After 50 years, Lawrence of Arabia's big-screen journey is finally over.

Peter O'Toole, the British actor who announced his presence in Hollywood with authority with his unforgettable turn in 1962's Lawrence of Arabia, made another big announcement on Tuesday: He is retiring from acting at the age of 79.

"Dear All, 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," he said in a statement released by his reps.

"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," he continued. "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."

While we're sad that O'Toole has lost the heart for acting, we can't begrudge the guy his retirement. He's racked up eight Oscar nominations and one Honorary Academy Award win during a career that spanned more than a half century and saw him play everyone from WWI intelligence office T.E. Lawrence and King Henry II (in both 1964's Becket and 1968's The Lion in Winter, earning Oscar nods for each) to Don Quioxte (in 1972's Man of La Mancha) and King Priam (in 2004's epic Troy).

O'Toole most recently appeared on the big screen in For Greater Glory, a Mexican Western costarring Andy Garcia, which was released in the U.S. on June 1. According to IMdB, he'll also star in the upcoming films Katherine of Alexandria and Mary Mother of Christ, both of which are awaiting release dates.

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