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Lawrence of Arabia: Peter O’Toole was almost brutally murdered on set

Peter O’Toole almost didn’t play Lawrence of Arabia. Marlon Brando was originally sought after by director Sir David Lean and producer Sam Spiegel, with the latter winning the Oscar alongside the star for 1954’s On the Waterfront. However, the Hollywood legend turned down the higher-paying Tahiti shootout. in Mutiny on the Bounty, saying “I’ll be damned if I spend two years of my life on a fucking camel!”

The second choice for TE Lawrence, the World War I hero best known for his role in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, was the virtually unknown Albert Finney. Despite extensive screen tests, he refused to sign a seven-year contract, so they opted for his drama school classmate O’Toole, despite the fact that he was considerably taller than figure. historical.

Lawrence of Arabia’s iconic desert scenes were shot in Spain, Jordan and Morocco, and it was here that the star suffered horrific injuries during filming. When he began to ride the camel, blood was oozing from his jeans, and he warned his instructor: “This is a very delicate Irish butt.”

To deal with the pain, O’Toole would cover his saddle with sponge rubber to make his behind less bruised, something the real-life Bedouin tribesmen also adopted. As a result, they would go on to nickname the star, “ab al-‘Isfanjah”, which means “father of the sponge”.

On top of all this, Lawrence of Arabia’s costume designer Phyllis Dalton had deliberately made the actor’s army uniform too small and ill-fitting to accurately reflect the historical figure’s real-life discomfort in the outfit. . During filming, O’Toole was often injured, reportedly suffering third-degree burns, sprained ankles, and torn ligaments in his hip and thigh.

READ MORE: Omar Sharif: The star of Dr. Zhivago ‘got into trouble’ during a racy weekend…

In addition, O’Toole allegedly broke his thumb, dislocated his spine, fractured his skull, sprained his neck, tore a muscle in his groin, sustained two concussions, and was bitten by a camel.

Being a notoriously heavy drinker, the actor badly injured his hand when he punched a caravan window while intoxicated. As a result, his bandage can be seen on his left thumb in the first scene of the train attack.

The worst incident, however, was when the Lawrence of Arabia star nearly died filming a famous moment. The scene in question was filming the Battle of Aqaba when TE Lawrence was nearly killed. His camel dumped it after he accidentally shot the animal in the head.

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In a bizarre coincidence, O’Toole also suffered a near-death experience, when a gun or rocket was used to signal “Action!” on the set he was shot prematurely, which frightened the actor’s camel, who threw him in front of the charging horses.

Conflicting accounts state that he was temporarily blinded by pellets from a spin gun and lost control of the creature, while another says that he was too drunk to hold out. Fortunately for O’Toole, his well-trained camel stood over him, preventing the horses from trampling him to death.



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