Good Night, Sweet Prince: ARTHUR JOHN GIELGUD (1904-2000)

ARTHUR JOHN GIELGUD: 1904-2000

As Sinatra was to popular music, so John Gielgud was to theater: The Voice. It could draw a word out into a long cello note or quaver like the lead fiddle in the pit of a Victorian melodrama. It made Shakespeare's verse immediately comprehensible and ethereal: perfectly analyzed, beautifully felt. Declaiming the final scene from King Lear in his solo Shakespeare show The Ages of Man, Sir John sounded like a noble basset. "Howl, howl, howl, howl!" The tone was mournful, then (an octave higher) deranged, then weirdly ecstatic and finally strangulated, stilled.

For nearly 80 years in theater, film,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!