Alec Guinness and Princess Diana at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987. Charles and Diana attended a dinner in honor of Sir Alec, and Charles gave a lovely speech about how much he admired Sir Alec.
"Embarrassed at all the attention, Guinness read a list of British-born actors whom he considered greater than himself, including Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, and the late Ralph Richardson."
Ralph Richardson and Paul Scofield in Graham Greene’s play “The Complaisant Lover,” directed by John Gielgud in 1959.
We badly need to smile today so let’s join Ralph and Mu at a late-night supper at a hotel after this play’s successful opening night in Liverpool, along with Johnny, Greene, Scofield, producer Hugh “Binkie” Beaumont, and scholar Michael Meyer, who described it:
It was approaching midnight and the kitchen was about to close. Everyone … quickly chose a main dish except Richardson who, professing himself ignorant of French, in which the menu was printed, demanded a full explanation of various dishes, posing many a supplementary question. “Wild mushrooms? You actually send chaps into the fields of Liverpool to gather them? Do they have to go at night?” Eventually he decided to have an omelette.
After dinner … Lady Richardson excused herself then Richardson said, “I must take Ambrose for a walk. Without fresh air he cannot sleep.” Whether Ambrose was a child or a dog, none of us knew. Ralph went upstairs (to his hotel room) and reappeared in a hat, alone as before, saying “Here we are. I’ll just take him around the block.” … Someone was brave enough to ask, “Where’s Ambrose?” “Haven’t you met him?” said Ralph, and drew from inside his pocket a tiny hamster, which he then carried out into the night. (From Michael Meyer, “Words Through a Windowpane.”)
Sir John Gielgud performs Prospero’s epilogue speech from Shakespeare’s The Tempest - Act 5, Scene 1
Now my charms are all o’erthrown,
And what strength I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint: now, ‘tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon’d the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
Let your indulgence set me free.