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IWAS SCARRED BY MUM & DAD'S SPLIT; O'Toole son tells of his pain at parents' bitter custody battle.

Byline: By NAOMI McELROY

HE'S the son of Irish acting legend Peter O'Toole with Hollywood at his feet.

But budding star Lorcan O'Toole, 24, reveals he still bears the scars of his parents' fierce custody battle.

Lorcan was just five when Peter fought mum, American model Karen Somerville, in one of the biggest court cases ever seen.

Lorcan said: "My childhood was very difficult, going between two parents and continually having to say goodbye to one of them. There were always tears and it was hard for me.

"Sometimes I think the happiest time was sitting on the plane that took me across the Atlantic because I was midway between them."

Both parents demanded custody of the tot but a judge ruled in 1988 he was to live with O'Toole in term time and return to mum Karen in the holidays.

But despite the rows Lorcan remains close to dad Peter, 75.

He added: "Both my parents ended up sacrificing a lot for me, but they have always been strong in their love for me. My relationship with my father, despite the age gap, is a fraternal one.

"We can talk about anything. When I read how my father had fought for custody, I found it overwhelming to think of how much he loved me.

"Yet I never hoped they would get back together."

He may be on good terms with his parents now, but Lorcan's traumatic childhood put him off having children until he is at least 50.

He said: "I didn't begin life in a traditional set-up. I've since learned how important family is but I would not think about having a child until I'm about 50. I'm not up for nesting."

The up-and-coming star has already appeared in Channel 4's Totally Frank, two stage plays and 2005 film Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont.

And he admitted he gets work because of his famous surname. He said: "How do I get most of my work? It's down to my audition, my look - and my last name.

"Being my father's son can get me through the door and I can get two or three call-backs for roles.

"But often directors reject me because they are worried that the audience will sit there thinking 'That's Peter O'Toole's son rather than identifying with the character."

Lorcan and half-sister Kate, 46, accompanied Peter to the recent Oscars but were not surprised when he failed to pick up the best actor gong for his role in Venus. Lorcan said: "It wasn't politically motivated or about racism."

And he slammed Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe for stripping off in stage play Equus - but said he would do the same.

He said: "Equus is full every night on the back of a 17-year-old movie star, Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe, and nudity.

"I don't know how some people sleep at night. That isn't to say I wouldn't strip off if it was valid.

"I'd like it to be as it is in French films, where they wander around naked after sex."

His dad may be a famous hellraiser, but Lorcan doesn't fear a battle with the bottle.

He said: "I never worried that my drinking would get out of control because we O'Tooles have great willpower.

"All those people who go to AA are addicted to addiction and have no will power."

news@irishmirror.ie

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STAR ROLE Lorcan O'Toole with dad Peter at the Oscars; SPLIT: Peter and ex-wife Karen
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 7, 2007
Words:576
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