Tuesday 15 October 2013
It is obviously impossible to do justice to a career of the length and distinction of Paul Rogers' in a single article. There were, however, two omissions in the one you published (11 October), writes Timothy Gee. There was no reference to his work in films; I recall sitting through the credits on Carol Reed's version of Our Man in Havana to learn the name of the actor who had impressed me in a small but vital scene. Paul Rogers' name was known to me; this was a first encounter with an impressive talent. Other distinguished directors for whom he worked subsequently included Charles Crichton (twice), Ken Hughes and Peter Ustinov.
One of his last appearances on the London stage, fittingly, was at the Old Vic, where he played Gloucester to Eric Porter's King Lear in Jonathan Miller's second production. For me it was a revelation.
With two great actors evenly paired in these roles the play seemed, like Hamlet and Othello, to revolve around the relationship between two men. The suggestion of a lifelong contest in which Lear had become accustomed to holding the upper hand made the final reconciliation more moving than any I had seen before or since.
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