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The Marriage of Peter O'Toole and Sian Phillips

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Peter O'Toole and Sian Phillips Marriage
Peter O'Toole and Sian Phillips

Irish actor Peter O'Toole attends the premiere of Peter Glenville's 'Becket', in which he plays King Henry II, at the Plaza Cinema in London, 26th March 1964. With him is his wife, Welsh actress Sian Phillips.

Photo: Trevor Humphries / Central Press / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The marriage of Sian Phillips and Peter O'Toole was "strained" by "Peter's impromptu absences and legendary boozing." Here are details about their marriage relationship.

Born:
Peter Seamus O'Toole: August 2, 1932 in Connemara, Ireland.

Sian Phillips aka Jane Elizabeth Ailwen Phillips: May 14, 1933 in Bettws, Camarthenshire, Wales, UK.

Died:
Peter: At the age of 81, after a long illness, Peter died in London, England on December 14, 2013.

When Sian and Peter Met:
Peter and Sian met in 1957. They had worked together in John Hall's The Holiday.

Sian: "I was dazzled by him (and I could tell that he was fascinated by me). We knew from our time together on tour that we got on very well. We were good company for each other and had no trouble adjusting our living habits to suit each other ... Our likes and dislikes chimed. The only slight difficulty was drink."
Sian Phillips. Public Places: My Life in the Theater, with Peter O'Toole and Beyond. 2004. Chapter Two.

Sian concerning Peter's proposal: "... surrounded by daffodils, O'Toole clutched me and said 'Have my children'. Without pausing for breath I said, 'Yes'... Now, had he said 'Marry me' I would have shuffled a bit and said, 'Oh I don't think you really mean that' and 'I don't really know about that' ... but the unwanted proposal didn't come. Not then. Not ever."
Sian Phillips. Public Places: My Life in the Theater, with Peter O'Toole and Beyond. 2004. Chapter Three.

Wedding Date:
Peter and Sian were married secretly in December 1959 in the registry office in Dublin, Ireland. Her Mexican divorce from her first husband was not recognized in England, and they had to remarry later.

Divorce Date:
Sian and Peter were divorced on August 14, 1979.

"[Her wanting to work] was apparently impossible to discuss with O'Toole. In 1975, she began a fling with a young actor, Robin Sachs, and in the subsequent months, her relationship with O'Toole unravelled. She left the house in February 1976, leaving behind her daughters, her mother and a couple of decades of investment. O'Toole bought her out of the house, but she got almost nothing else - none of the extensive art collection or the beautiful furniture. Her jewellery was sold at Sotheby's."
Source: "When the Magic Wore Off." The Observer. 7/28/2001.

Children:
Peter had three children.

  • Patricia O'Toole: Born in 1963.  Her mother is Sian Phillips.
  • Kate O'Toole: Born in 1960. Her mother is Sian Phillips. Kate is an actress. More Info.
  • Lorcan Patrick O'Toole: Born in 1983. His mother is Karen Brown. Lorcan is an actor. More Info.
     

Occupations:
Peter: Actor, voice artist, producer. Before his acting career, he was a radioman in the Royal Navy and a reporter.

Sian: Actress, BBC announcer, author.

Residences:
Peter had homes in Galway, Ireland and London, England.

Other Marriages:
In 1956, Sian married Don Roy, a post-graduate student at the University of Wales. She called the marriage "a terrible mistake."  In 1959, she received a divorce by proxy in Mexico so she could marry O'Toole.

"She cleaned the flat, posted a cheque for the remainder of the lease, divided the china and linen, tore up her wedding photographs, and left a letter."
Source: "When the Magic Wore Off." The Observer. 7/28/2001.

Sian later married Robin Sachs in 12/24/1979 in Scotland. They divorced in 1991.

"He [Robin] was 17 years her junior. 'Aspects of it were such fun, but we just didn't have enough in common.' Even so, the marriage lasted 12 years, until he met someone else and she lost patience with the 'sweet laziness' that once attracted her."
Source: "When the Magic Wore Off." The Observer. 7/28/2001.

Quotes About the Marriage of Sian Phillips and Peter O'Toole:

Simon Button: "Siân learnt her own lessons in love from a 17-year marriage to Peter O’Toole, legend of stage, screen and saloon bar. She hasn’t seen O’Toole, as she calls him, since their divorce in 1976 ..."
Source: Simon Button. "Sian Phillips: Life, love and London buses." Express.co.uk. 3/17/2010.

Sian about Peter in 1975: "Admiration and respect struggled with resentment. In the past I and the girls, Kate and Pat, could have done with a sober, present husband and father but nothing that I could have said or done would have stopped him drinking. He stopped now to save his life -- which is reasonable enough and thank God he has but -- but, I wish he could have stopped for our sake."
Sian Phillips. Public Places: My Life in the Theater, with Peter O'Toole and Beyond. 2004. Chapter One, March 1975.

The Telegraph: "But as soon as they were married, things started to go wrong ... Every evening, she would cook dinner and throw it in the bin when she went to bed. His drinking, which had seemed charming before, now seemed frightening, especially when it led to tirades in the middle of the night and inquisitions about her 'past'. He knew she was no virgin when he married her, but he used it as an excuse to seize the moral high ground, and to persuade her she was worthless ... In public, they were the dazzling showbiz couple; in private, they barely met. She would read newspaper interviews in which he said, 'She is my rock,' and wonder when he would come back and abuse her."
Source: "A Man I Could Not Hoodwink." Telegraph.co.uk. 8/18/2001.

Sian saying O'Toole was a great love: "There are aspects I regret, but given the circumstances I would certainly do it again. And given my character, it would be the same."
Source: "When the Magic Wore Off." The Observer. 7/28/2001.
 

 

 

 

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