Paul Scofield : 1922 - 2008
Brilliant actor Paul Scoffield, star of A Man for All Seasons, the Crucible and Quiz Show, has also passed away.
David Paul Scofield, CH, CBE (21 January 1922 – 19 March 2008) was an award-winning English actor of stage and screen. Noted for his distinctive voice and delivery, Scofield won both an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for his role as Sir Thomas More in the 1966 filmA Man for All Seasons. He had previously originated the role in the stage version both in theWest End and on Broadway, winning a Tony Award.
He went up to Oxford in 1939 where he famously shared digs with Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin before leaving university to pursue his acting career. Scofield began his stage career in 1940 with a debut performance in Desire Under the Elms at the Westminster Theatre, and was soon being compared with Laurence Olivier. In 1947, he starred in Walter Nugent Monck's revival of Pericles, Prince of Tyre at theShakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford.
An actor of extraordinary intelligence, Scofield was noteworthy for his striking presence and distinctive voice, and for the clarity and unmannered intensity of his delivery. His versatility at the height of his career is exemplified by his starring roles in theatrical productions as diverse as the musical Expresso Bongo (1958) and Peter Brook's celebrated production of King Lear (1962). In a career mainly devoted to the classical theatre, he starred in many plays by Shakespeare and played the title role in Ben Jonson's Volpone in Peter Hall's production for the Royal National Theatre (1977). Highlights of his career in modern theatre include the roles of Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons (1960), Charles Dyer in Dyer's play Staircase, staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, and Antonio Salieri in the original stage production of Peter Shaffer's Amadeus (1979). Expresso Bongo, Staircase and Amadeus were filmed with other actors, but Scofield starred in the screen versions of A Man for All Seasons (1966) and King Lear (1971). Other major screen roles include Strether in a 1977 TV adaptation of Henry James's novel The Ambassadors, Professor Moroi in the film of János Nyíri's If Winter Comes (1980), for BBC Television, Mark Van Doren in Robert Redford's film Quiz Show (1994), and Thomas Danforth in Nicholas Hytner's film adaptation (1996) ofArthur Miller's The Crucible.
Scofield was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1956 New Year Honours. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for A Man for All Seasons and was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for Quiz Show. Theatrical accolades include a 1962Tony Award for A Man for All Seasons. In 1969, Scofield became the sixth performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting, winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Male of the Species. He was also one of only eight actors to win both the Tony and the Oscar for the same role on stage and film. He was appointed a Companion of Honour (CH) in the 2001 New Year Honours. In 2004 a poll of actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company, including Ian McKellen, Donald Sinden, Janet Suzman, Ian Richardson, Anthony Sher and Corin Redgrave, acclaimed his Lear as the greatest Shakespearean performance ever. Scofield also appeared in many radio dramas for BBC Radio 4, including in later years plays by Peter Tinniswood - On the Train to Chemnitz (2001) andAnton in Eastbourne (2002). The latter was Tinniswood's last work and was written especially for Scofield, an admirer of Anton Chekhov.