NEW YORK (Reuters) - Veteran British actor Peter O'Toole, praised for esteemed roles in classic films such as "Lawrence of Arabia," announced on Tuesday he is retiring from acting in films and stage.
"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, who is 79 and lives in London, said in a statement released by New York publicist Bill Augustin.
O'Toole said that his career, which has included eight Academy Award nominations without a win, "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," he added. "It's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay."
Early in his career, O'Toole made waves on stage in several key Shakespearean roles, including an acclaimed turn as "Hamlet," before gaining fame in films such as "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "The Ruling Class", "The Stunt Man" and "My Favorite Year."
His last Oscar nomination was for Best Actor in the 2006 film "Venus." He won an honorary Oscar in 2003 for his numerous memorable roles.
O'Toole said he is now spending his time working on the third volume of his memoirs. The film website imdb.com listed O'Toole as co-starring in the upcoming British film "Katherine of Alexandria."
O'Toole finished the statement by saying, "I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell."
Reporting By Christine Kearney, editing by Patricia Reaney and Gunna Dickson