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In Memoriam


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IN MEMORIAM

Obituary Profiles of Entertainment Industry Figures And The Legacies They Leave Behind


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Paul Scofield: The Golden Voice Is Silenced

Friday, March 21-----Paul Scofield, the golden-throated British actor of stage and screen, who won a Best Actor Oscar in 1966 for his portrayal of Sir Thomas More in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, passed away on Wednesday. The seasoned actor, 86, who died at a hospital near his home in southern England, had been suffering from leukemia. 

Scofield had a lifelong attachment to the theatrical stage, where he began his career 60 years ago. He found his first successes in a variety of Shakespearean roles during and after World War II. His physical presence, resonant voice and total commitment drew comparisons to fellow thespian Laurence Olivier. While continuing his theater work, Scofield began appearing in a handful of films in the 1950s and early 1960s, most notably the John Frankenheimer thriller THE TRAIN (1962).

The following year, he debuted the role of Sir Thomas More in the original stage production of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. The play, written by Robert Bolt, was the true story of More, the Chancellor of England, who refused to go along with King Henry VIII’s break from the Roman Catholic Church and was eventually executed for his principled stand. Scofield played the role on stage in London and New York before starring in the film adaptation, directed Oscar-winning filmmaker Fred Zinnemann. The film was the “prestige picture” of 1966, winning an impressive six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Fred Zinnemann) and Best Actor for Scofield.

Despite the Oscar win, the actor was only used sparingly in film, keeping his focus on work in live theater. His forays into cinema were primarily in stage-to-film adaptations, including Peter Brook's version of KING LEAR and Edward Albee's A DELICATE BALANCE, opposite Katharine Hepburn. He found the second role of a lifetime in the stage production of AMADEUS, where he played the tortured and envious composer Antonio Salieri, a rival to the impetuous young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Inexplicably, he lost the role in the acclaimed 1984 film adaptation to relatively unknown F. Murray Abraham, who would win an Oscar for Best Actor in the part.

Later roles included supporting parts in Kenneth Branagh’s version of HENRY V and the Franco Zeffirelli production of HAMLET. He returned to prominence, and a second Oscar nomination, for his supporting role in QUIZ SHOW, director Robert Redford’s look at the television quiz show scandals of the 1950s.  His last major film role was in 1996's THE CRUCIBLE, which won him his third BAFTA Award. The golden voice is now silenced, but his filmography is a living testament to his sublime talent. 

Sandy Mandelberger, In Memoriam Editor

 

 

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

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IN MEMORIAM

Obituary Profiles of Entertainment Industry Figures And The Legacies They Leave Behind


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