John McEnery was an English actor and writer. He played the clerk Bartleby in the 1970 film version of Melville’s Bartleby.
You can scroll to 3:06 to hear McEnery utter the immortal words: “I would prefer not to.”
“Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853) is a short story by Herman Melville famous for its dictum “I would prefer not to,” uttered by the reluctant clerk Bartleby.
Many existentialists and absurdists have regarded the story as a prescient exploration and embodiment of their concerns.
French philosopher Gilles Deleuze wrote an essay on the text titled “Bartleby, or, the Formula” (1989).
Above is the Encyclopædia Britannica film adaptation of 1969.