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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Screen actor Peter O'Toole remembered for filming Venus in Whitstable

16 December 2013
by Jamie Bullen

The death of legendary actor Peter O’Toole is sure to raise a few glasses in the Old Neptune this week after the Hollywood star bought a round for the entire pub when he filmed in the town.

Mr O’Toole, regarded the unluckiest man in Oscar history with a record eight nominations without a gong, died on Sunday after a long illness.

Seven years ago, the Lawrence of Arabia star visited Whitstable to film comedy-drama Venus which saw Mr O’Toole play Maurice a dying actor attracted to his friend’s great niece.

Peter O'Toole in his most famous role of Lawrence of Arabia. Picture: Columbia Pictures via Wikimedia Commons

For his portrayal he received his last Oscar nomination for best actor but was pipped to the post by Forest Whitaker who played brutal dictator Idi Amin in the Last King of Scotland.

Scenes for the film were shot at Whitstable rail station, the beach and the Old Neptune pub which was taken over for the day by the film’s producers.

Landlord Darren Wilson says he remembers Mr O’Toole’s visit in 2007 and described him as “funny, serious and generous” man fond of a pint of Guinness.

Darren said: “Peter and Jodie Whittaker came here in February to film Venus.

“He came down and I had a chance to meet him he was quite funny but also a serious and generous gentleman.

The Old Neptune even became a film star when Peter O'Toole was in town

The Old Neptune even became a film star when Peter O'Toole was in town

“They hired the pub out for the whole day but filming finished early so I was able to serve the customers.

“Peter stayed around to have a couple of Guinnesses and even bought a round for the whole pub.”

Mr Wilson says no special events are planned to mark Mr O’Toole’s death but added his visit to Whitstable will always be remembered.

The crew filmed around Whitstable

The crew filmed around Whitstable

Darren added: “I’m not organising anything in particular to remember Peter but with it being so close to Christmas there is plenty going on in the pub.

"I had a chance to meet him he was quite funny but also a serious and generous gentleman" - Old Neptune pub landlord Darren Wilson

“We have a picture of him here at the time and there is also a plaque on the bench with his name on it so we won’t forget his visit.”

His death has triggered a wave of tributes from politicians and entertainers led by Prime Minister David Cameron who called Lawrence of Arabia his favourite film.

Mr O’Toole’s career spanned more than 50 years featuring in almost 70 films and was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2003.

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