Audio, 1940s-1950s

Audio, 1960s-1970s

Audio, 1980s-1990s
Paul Scofield's Recorded Performances

Scofield was an "actor's actor" who at his best, had a way of portraying his characters that seemed to go beyond stagecraft to reveal that person's very soul. Ironically, the boy who'd been considered a "dolt" became an actor who was most noted for the air of extraordinary intelligence he brought to every role. Before method acting became common, Scofield was one of the few actors who zeroed-in on the inner life of his characters. In a period when actors strove to be larger than life, Scofield's performances where characterized by realism, "clarity and unmannered intensity."20 The Telegraph's Domenic Cavendish writes, "Blessed with a grandeur of presence and vocal range that rivalled that of the stars that preceded him by a generation -- Olivier and Gielgud – he [Scofield] also introduced a dimension of naturalism that helped theatre achieve a more modern sensibility."21

Paul Scofield as Coriolanus, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, Ontario, 1961.
The grim look may be due to director Michael Langham's insistance that the ugly moment in which Aufidius stands on the corpse "be played with absolute clarity.22"
Photo: Billy Rose Theatre Collection, New York Public Library

This web site's links provide ample information on Scofield's professional triumphs. To filmgoers he is best known for his Oscar-winning performance as Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons (1966), his iconoclastic portrayal of King Lear (1970), and his puzzled, principled Mark Van Doren in Quiz Show. In the theatre he was celebrated for his portrayals of Timon of Athens, Hamlet, the whiskey priest in The Power and the Glory, and Salieri in Amadeus. He is often acclaimed as the greatest Lear of the 20th century and possibly all time. He served as co-director for the Royal Shakespeare Company (1966-1968) and Director of the National Theatre (1971). His awards include an Academy Award for Best Actor (1966), Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (1966), Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie (1969), and a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play (1962). Though he declined a knighthood three times, he accepted the honours of the Order of the British Empire and Companion of Honour.

Later Career


20) Wikipedia, op cit. (top)
21) Domenic Cavendish, "Paul Scofield's Lasting Contribution to Theatre," The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1582306/Paul-Scofields-lasting-contribution-to-theatre.html, accessed 27/12/09. (top)
22) John Ripley, Coriolanus on Stage in England and America, 1609-1994, p. 300.
1998: Cranberry, NJ (top)