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Anecdotes, Apocrypha & Internet Folklore



A Short Eulogy
(posted on IMDB by Adam Redfield, Friday, 21 March 2008)

My father played Richard Rich in the original Broadway production of A Man for All Seasons with Scofield. My father once described Scofield as "saintly" and perhaps that is correct. My father died more than 30 years ago and Scofield stayed in touch with my family performing many kindnesses for us over the ensuing years. He corresponded with my sister who, though an authentic genius, was severely mentally ill and often hard to converse with. Yet, he remained her friend and when she died at age 47, Scofield wrote a beautiful letter to my mother about her, not a condolence card, a letter.

I pray that God has taken him home and that his family takes comfort from all the love people had for him.

The Dirt Eating Scene


On the Best American Poetry blog, David Yezzi recalls, "After an evening of scenes from Shakespeare that I put together at the Poetry Center of 92nd Street Y a few years ago, I was having dinner with the actors: Philip Bosco, Rosemary Harris, and Brian Murray. I was completely dizzy with wine and the stories of working with the greats: what Olivier said, what Burton did, etc. Then Brian Murray launches into this story that I will never forget. Murray was in the stage version of Brook's Lear, playing Edgar beside Scofield's king. If the movie is any indication, the production was quite gritty looking. Edgar, who spends a fair amount of time in the mud, appears begrimed for much of the play. The week before opening they changed his make up, so that the mud was in fact chocolate sauce smeared across his face.

All went swimmingly until opening night, when Murray gets the jitters and, as he told it, begins to freeze up. Scofield, sensing this, crosses to him, which he had never done before, kneels down and runs a finger across his face. He then licks the finger and whispers loudly, "Mm. Mars. Delicious!" This absurd stunt puts Murray back on track, and he is able to continue.

Now here's the part I've always wondered about. It's a story too good not to be true, so I've never verified it. According to Murray, Tynan was in the audience that night and in his review wrote something to the effect that Scofield clearly marked Lear's descent into madness by picking a piece of mud off of Edgar and eating it. And, of course, despite this bit of praise Scofield never repeated the moment."

You can read the complete essay at


  Favorite Books

The Tree of a Man by Patrick White
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
Travels with a Donkey by R. L. Stevenson

Favorite children's books
Beatrix Potter books
Henry, the Story of a Mole by Joy Parker (his wife)

Source: PR Newswire, Press Release, April 10, 1995


  I remain startled just thinking at the moment when Paul Scofield, playing Coriolanus at Stratford, Ontario, in 1961, said, “There is a world elsewhere.” Up to that point near the middle of the play he had been speaking in a flat monotone, so much so that I kept thinking, “Why is this guy supposed to be so great?” Then, on that line, he simply exploded on the second syllable of the word “elsewhere” — and from that point was essentially a screaming maniac. It was the beginning of my understanding how exciting a well-thought-out acting moment can be.
California (Source:

  John Rigg Recalls:

I worked at the Haymarket Theatre in the 60s and he read from Timon for us for a charity set up help repair precious artwork damaged by the floods in Italy. He later came back to rehearse Time and Time Again with Wendy Hiller. I was subsequently at the New (later Albery now Noel Coward) Theatre to take out Osborne’s Hotel in Amsterdam and met him again. He was an unassuming man of great charm with a wonderful wry smile. I caught him once outside his dressing room and told him of the many times I had seen A Man for All Seasons and how I thought his performance monumental. He said nothing, but just looked into my eyes, patted me on the shoulder and walked into his room...