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Paul Scofield was born David Paul Scofield in West Sussex, England in 1922. He began acting while still in high school and turned professional when he was just 18, acting on the stage in Desire Under the Elms. For the next 15 years, he acted in English stage productions, from 1946 at Stratford-upon-Avon, where he excelled in the top Shakespeare roles, including Henry V, and Hamlet, and was considered one of the top Shakespearean actors ever. In 1955, he appeared in his first movie, That Lady, opposite Olivia de Havilland, and over the next 40 years he would only appear in around 30 movies, spending most of his time on stage. He obviously chose his film roles very carefully, finding excellent scripts and working with top actors and directors, He stood out in 1964's The Train, opposite Burt Lancaster, and directed by John Frankenheimer, as a Nazi villain. It is a really excellent movie, and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it! In 1960, Scofield took the lead role of Thomas More in Robert Bolt's play, A Man For All Seasons (winner of the Best Actor Academy Award for this film), and it was a huge hit, first in London, and then on Broadway, where Scofield again played the lead. In 1966, Scofield played the lead in the film version, directed by Fred Zinnemann. It was expected to be one of those prestigious movies that won lots of awards and praise from critics, but with mediocre box office receipts, for it had no sex, no violence, no action, and worst of all, it was a movie of ideas! Yet while the movie did win all sorts of Awards (including the Best Picture Oscar and Best Actor Oscar for Scofield), it confounded the experts by being a major box office success, taking in over 25 million dollars (on a 2 million dollar budget). If you have never seen this wonderful movie, you really should! Scofield married at 21, and he had two children and remained married to that same lady until he passed away 65 years later. His personal life made no headlines, and when he was offered a knighthood he turned it down! In 1994 he took the role of Ralph Fiennes' father in Robert Redford's Quiz Show (nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for this film), and he stood out as always. If you have not seen this fine movie, I recommend it. Scofield passed away in 2008 at the age of 86.
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