I’m sure many readers of rogueclassicism were saddened to read of the death of Peter O’Toole this past weekend, especially considering how many ‘classical’ roles he played. Indeed, I was one of many folks on Twitter retweeting obits and the like … all of which makes the following somewhat disturbing/uncomfortable. The Guardian has a thing wherein Malcolm McDowell (of Caligula fame, natch) is reminiscing about his experiences with O’Toole on the set. Inter alia we read:
I do recall one particular night shoot… We were called to the set at four o’clock in the afternoon. As usual, nothing was ready. They’d built a set of Tiberius’s grotto, on three acres, and were assembling all of the extras and background. The producers worriedly asked if I would go into Peter’s trailer (he was playing Tiberius) and go through the lines with him, which we did few times.
And then he told me the most remarkable story – whether it is true or not I have no idea – about his grave-robbing Etruscan tombs. He said the best way to find Etruscan jewellery and artefacts was to find the drains in the tombs, and very gingerly sift through them with your fingers because, as the bodies decompose, all of the artifacts deposit themselves into the channels. The thought of Peter O’Toole on his hands and knees in an Etruscan catacomb makes for a lovely image. […]
A lovely image? It gets a bit more sinister … Sian Philips’ Public Places: My Life in the Theater, with Peter O’Toole and Beyond, which is available at Google Books. Check this excerpt (from Chapter 20) out:
Is this something that Classicists were aware of? Should someone be looking into these Etruscan-associated activities?