Friday, March 21, 2008

Paul Scofield, R.I.P.

By Mitchell

It does seem as if we spend much of our time writing obituaries, doesn't it? Today it is for Paul Scofield, the marvelous Oscar-winning actor who died of leukemia at 86. We wrote about his signature movie, A Man For All Seasons, last year. a movie well worth meditating on at this time of the year. It's a nice reminder for these secular times that there have always been those for whom faith was important enough that they were willing to risk their lives for it.

Scofield was dominating in A Man For All Seasons, just as he was dignified as the moral conscience in Quiz Show, for which he received another Oscar nomination. He was rarely seen on television, but was one of the stars (along with Peter Finch and Michael Caine) of the 1969 TV drama Male of the Species. He was a man who apparently put great stock in family, who did not let his professional life overwhelm his personal, who took pride in what he did and in the quality of it. In short, a gentleman. They don't seem to make 'em much like that anymore, do they?

In writing about Arthur C. Clarke earlier this week, NRO's John Derbyshire mentioned one of Clarke's famed short stories, The Nine Billion Names of God. And indeed one can't help but think of the final image at the end of that story, of the stars in the sky slowly winking out. Another obituary is written, a way of life increasingly passes away, and we wonder what will provide the light to fill the increasing darkness.

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