If you've ever been lucky enough to catch Peter O'Toole on David Letterman's The Late Show, you know he's a terrific talk show guest, tossing off story after story about his boozy escapades and acting mishaps. Not surprisingly, O'Toole is as gifted and stylish a memoirist as he is a raconteur. Apprentice, the second installment in his three-part personal history, crackles with the energy of a life lived to the hilt.
Picking up where he left off in 1992's wry and literate Loitering with Intent: The Child, O'Toole, 65, revisits his years as a young student at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he and fellow actors like Albert Finney spent as much time swilling pints and chasing "bonny lassies" as they did boning up on Twelfth Night. But for all his pub-crawling heroics ("Did you ever pop into your local bar in Paris for a beer and wake up in Corsica?"), Apprentice is most affecting when it deals with O'Toole's tentative first steps toward acting greatness—a solo performance that lulls his beloved teacher Sir Kenneth Barnes to sleep and his fascination with, and emulation of, burgeoning theater star Richard Burton.