Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oscar-Winning Actor Paul Scofield Passes, Aged 86

British stage actor Paul Scofield died of leukemia Wednesday in a hospital near his home in southern England. He was 86.

Scofield won an Academy Award and found international fame with the 1966 film A Man For All Seasons where he portrayed Sir Thomas More. He had also played the role in a London stage production for nine months. Time magazine said of the performance: "With a kind of weary magnificence, Scofield sinks himself into the part, studiously underplays it, and somehow displays the inner mind of a man destined for sainthood".

Paul Scofield's stage actor leanings are clearly revealed in his film choices, including Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance (1974), Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989), and the 1996 adaptation of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. His role as poet Mark Van Doren in Robert Redford's Quiz Show (1994) is one of his few roles not borne of the theatre.

Paul Scofield was an actor's actor. His dramatic, craggy face and unforgettable voice coupled with his selfless commitment to the work made him stand out among the best players. Richard Burton once said, "Of the 10 greatest moments in the theater, eight are Scofield's".

He is survived by his wife and two children.

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