Born in Sussex, England, on January 21, 1922, actor Paul Scofield began training as a professional actor at age 17, first distinguishing himself in Shakespearean roles. He won a Tony Award in 1962, and later received an Academy Award (best actor) for his role as Sir Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons. Scofield's later work in plays by contemporary playwrights, including Hampton's Savages and Amadeus, showed his range and versatility as an actor. He died on March 19, 2008, in Sussex, England.
Early Life and Career
Actor David Paul Scofield was born on January 21, 1922, at Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, England. His father was the village school master. Scofield left school at age 17 to begin training as a professional actor. He studied at the Croydon Repertory Schooland the London Mask Theatre before making his professional debut in 1940.
At Stratford-upon-Avon in the 1940s, he began to distinguish himself in Shakespearian roles, and later starred in Peter Brook's production of King Lear (1962, subsequently filmed) and in Othello (National Theatre, 1980). He won a Tony Award in 1962 and later the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the Tudor statesman Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons (1966).
Further work in plays by contemporary playwrights, such as Hampton's Savages (1973) and Shaffer's Amadeus (1979), gave evidence of his range and versatility. Later film credits include Quiz Show (1995), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and The Crucible (1996).
An intensely private man, Scofield lived most of his life within a few miles of where he was born, shunning the bright lights of film premieres. He turned down the offer of a knighthood because he wanted to remain "plain Mister." He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1956 and became a Companion of Honour in 2001. Scofield died peacefully on March 19, 2008, at a hospital near his home in Sussex, England. He had been suffering from leukemia.
Scofield married actress Joy Parker in 1943. They had two children.
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