George C. Scott was an immensely talented actor, a star of screen, stage and television who was born in Virginia in 1927. At the age of eight his mother died and his father, an executive at Buick, raised him. In 1945 he joined the US Marines and spent four years with them, no doubt an inspiration for portraying Gen. George S. Patton years later. When Scott left the Marines he enrolled in journalism classes at the University of Missouri, but it was while performing in a play there that the acting bug bit him. He has said it "clicked, just like tumblers in a safe."
It was in 1957 that he landed a role in "Richard III" in New York City. The play was a hit and brought the young actor to the attention of critics. Soon he began to get work on television, mostly in live broadcasts of plays, and in 1959 he landed the part of the crafty prosecutor in Anatomy of a Murder (1959). It was this role that got him his first Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor.
However, George and Oscar wouldn't actually become the best of friends. In fact, he felt the whole process forced actors to become stars and that the ceremony was little more than a "meat market." In 1962 he was nominated again for Best Supporting Actor, this time opposite Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961), but sent a message saying "No, thanks" and refused the nomination.
However, whether he was being temperamental or simply stubborn in his opinion of awards, it didn't seem to stop him from being nominated in the future. "Anatomy" and "The Hustler" were followed by 1963's clever mystery The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), in which he starred alongside Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum and cameos by major stars of the time, including Burt Lancaster and Frank Sinatra. It's a must-see, directed by John Huston with tongue deeply in cheek.
The following year Scott starred as Gen. "Buck" Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's comical anti-war film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). It became one of his favorites and he often said that he felt guilty getting paid for it, as he had so much fun making it. Another comedy, The Flim-Flam Man (1967), followed in 1967, with Scott playing a smooth-talking con artist who takes on an apprentice whom he soon discovers has too many morals.
Three years followed, with some smaller TV movies, before he got the role for which he will always be identified: the aforementioned Gen. Patton in Patton (1970). It was a war movie that came at the end of a decade where anti-war protests had rocked a nation and become a symbol of youth dissatisfied with what was expected of them. Still, the actor's portrayal of this aggressive military icon actually drew sympathy for the controversial hero. He won the Oscar this time, but stayed at home watching hockey instead.
A pair of films that he made in the early 1980s were outstanding. The first of these was The Changeling (1980), a film often packaged as a horror movie but one that's really more of a supernatural thriller. He plays John Russell, a composer and music professor who loses his wife and daughter in a tragic accident. Seeking solace, he moves into an old mansion that had been unoccupied for 12 years. A child-like presence seems to be sharing the house with him, however, and trying to share its secrets with him. By researching the house's past he discovers its horrific secret of long ago, a secret that the presence will no longer allow to be kept.
Then in 1981 he starred--along with a young cast of then largely unknowns, including Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise--in the intense drama Taps (1981). He played the head of a military academy that's suddenly slated for destruction when the property is sold to local developers who plan to build condos. The students take over the academy when they feel that the regular channels are closed to them.
Scott kept up in films, TV and on stage in the later years of his life (Broadway dimmed its lights for one minute on the night of his death). Among his projects were playing Ebenezer Scrooge in a worthy TV update of A Christmas Carol (1984) (TV), an acclaimed performance on Broadway of "Death of a Salesman", the voice of McLeach in Disney's The Rescuers Down Under (1990) and co-starring roles in TV remakes of two classic films, 12 Angry Men (1997) (TV) and Inherit the Wind (1999) (TV), to name just a few. After his death the accolades poured in, with Jack Lemmon saying, "George was truly one of the greatest and most generous actors I have ever known," while Tony Randall called him "the greatest actor in American history."
|Trish Van Devere||(14 September 1972 - 22 September 1999) (his death)|
|Colleen Dewhurst||(4 July 1967 - 2 February 1972) (divorced)|
|Colleen Dewhurst||(1960 - 1965) (divorced) 2 children|
|Patricia Reed||(1 March 1955 - 5 June 1960) (divorced) 2 children|
|Carolyn Hughes||(30 August 1951 - 1 January 1955) (divorced) 1 child|
Often plays volatile individuals
Distinctive raspy voice
Often played doctors or police officials
Often spoke in an authorative, imposing bark
He had six children: Daughter Victoria (b. December 19th 1952) with Carolyn Hughes. Daughter Michelle (b. August 21st 1954) with Karen Truesdell. Son Matthew (b. May 27th 1957) and daughter Devon Scott (b. November 29th 1958) with Patricia Reed. Sons Alexander Scott (b. August 1960) and Campbell Scott (b. July 19th 1961) with 'Colleen Dewhurst'.
The only products that Scott ever endorsed in a TV commercial shown in the USA were the Renault Alliance sedan and Encore coupe (later the Alliance coupe), built in the USA by American Motors.
Was the first actor ever to refuse an Academy Award (1970, for Patton (1970)). He was followed by Marlon Brando, who also turned down the award for The Godfather (1972). The reason he claimed for missing the ceremony where he won the Oscar was that he was busy watching a hockey game.
Was infamous for his intense, intimidating personality. Julie Christie, who had earlier co-starred with him in Petulia (1968), was rattled by his presence when they appeared together on Broadway in Mike Nichols' all-star production of Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" in the summer of 1973 (other cast members included Conrad Bain, Lillian Gish, Barnard Hughes, Cathleen Nesbitt and Nicol Williamson in the title role. The play garnered 1974 Tony Award nominations for Nichols for Best Director and Best Actor [Play] nods for Scott and Williamson; Williamson won the 1974 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance). Christie also told the press, at the time, that Scott frightened her, something that surprised the actor when he was told of her comment six years later by Lawrence Grobel, who was interviewing Scott for "Playboy" Magazine (December 1980).
1945-49: Served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Although he refused the Oscar he won for Patton (1970), he accepted the Emmy he won for his performance in the _"Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1959) 1971 production of Arthur Miller's "The Price", saying that he felt that the Emmy Awards were a more honest appreciation of an actor's work.
Played three roles originated by actor Lee J. Cobb. He played Lt. Kinderman in The Exorcist III (1990), which was played by Cobb in the original The Exorcist (1973). Scott later played Juror #3 in the remake of 12 Angry Men (1997) (TV), a role played by Cobb in the original film (12 Angry Men (1957)). He also received a Tony nomination for playing Cobb's signature role of Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway.
There were only two feature films shot in the Dimension 150 process. Scott starred in both of them: The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966) (aka "La Bibbia") and Patton (1970). "Patton", which was released in Cinerama theaters, was the last movie shot in a widescreen format specifically for exhibition on the Cinerama circuit, which featured curved screens. Spectators at the Cinerama showings of "Patton" were awed by the three-dimensional effect of Patton's opening speech, in which Scott as Patton stands by himself on-screen. The scene likely was shot for the purpose of showcasing the Cinerama screen.
Best known for playing the legendary Gen. George S. Patton.
According to his Patton (1970) co-star Karl Malden, Scott caused a shooting delay on the set of that movie by holding an impromptu "ping-pong" tournament against a world-champion table-tennis player. Scott, who was in full costume as Gen. Patton, kept losing to the world champ and was determined to keep playing him all night, if need be, until winning at least one set.
1950: Attended the University of Missouri Journalism School for one year, where he began taking drama classes.
Was nominated for a 1996 Tony Award as Best Actor for "Inherit the Wind," but he lost to George Grizzard in "A Delicate Balance." Scott's first Tony nomination was in 1959 as Best Featured Actor in a Play in "Comes a Day." His competition that year was Grizzard, who was nominated in the same category for "The Disenchanted." They were both beaten by Charles Ruggles in "The Pleasure Of His Company."
Was nominated for Broadway's Tony Award five times: as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic),in 1959 for "Comes a Day;" as Best Actor (Dramatic), in 1960 for "The Andersonville Trial" and in 1974 for "Uncle Vanya;" and, as Best Actor (Play), in 1976 for a revival of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" and in 1996 for a revival of "Inherit the Wind." Despite these five nominations, he never won a Tony Award.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 550-551. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
He played Lt. William "Bill" Kinderman in The Exorcist III (1990). His ex-wife Colleen Dewhurst was the voice of Satan in the film. Son Campbell Scott played Ethan Thomas in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005).
In his autobiography, Marlon Brando, Scott's co-star in the film The Formula (1980) -- in a caption for a picture from the film -- recounts that Scott asked him during the shooting of the film whether he, Brando, would ever give the same line-reading twice. Brando replied, "I know you know a cue when you hear one.".
Scott and Marlon Brando played chess together while shooting The Formula (1980). In his Playboy interview of December 1980 (Vol. 27, Iss. 12, pg. 81- 138), Scott told Lawrence Grobel--who had conducted the famous interview with Brando for Playboy a year earlier--that Marlon was not that good a player. Many years later, Christiane Kubrick leveled the same charge against Scott, who was beaten regularly by her late husband Stanley Kubrick on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) between setups. Kubrick, however, was renowned as a master-level chess player who used to hustle other players in his youth in New York City.
He joined the Marines Corps as a 17-year old in 1945, but the atomic bomb brought an end to World War II before he could see combat. After the war, he served time at Arlington National Cemetery. According to the March 22, 1971 "Time" magazine cover-story on Scott, this was the time that he began to drink heavily, as the grave detail was extremely depressing.
According to a "Time" magazine cover-story (March 22, 1971), Scott once had to go back on-stage during a Broadway play with his hand in a rubber glove after punching the mirror in his dressing room. The broken glass cut his hand and the flow of blood could not be stanched. This was in the days of Scott's heavy drinking, which was caused by an inner-torment and self-loathing. Scott had turned to acting to exorcise those demons, and by the time of his success with Patton (1970) had largely succeeded, according to the magazine profile.
An aficionado of acting, he told interviewer Lawrence Grobel in his December 1980 "Playboy" magazine interview that his The Hustler (1961) co-star Paul Newman's performance in that film was nothing special (both actors were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances). However, he found Newman's performance as the eponymous Hud (1963) to be a superb piece of acting.
He accepted the role of Sheriff Gillespie in In the Heat of the Night (1967), according to producer Walter Mirisch's memoir "I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History." Scott backed out when wife Colleen Dewhurst wanted him to direct her in a play on Broadway. Mirisch then offered the role to Rod Steiger, who accepted and won an Oscar. Steiger later turned down the lead in Patton (1970) that went to Scott, which brought him an Oscar.
During filming of The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966), Scott and Ava Gardner, who had been in a tempestuous relationship for a few years, drank heavily. His drinking and his explosive temper resulted in Scott beating Gardner. He broke her shoulder and during some of the filming she was in a body brace.
Suffered several heart attacks in his last years.
Son of George D. Scott.
Reprised his role and Gen. George S. Patton in the TV movie "The Last Days of Patton" (1986) 16 years after his original portrayal for which he won the Oscar.
[when asked for suggestions on how to judge acting] I have three tests. First, which dominates, the character or the actor? With very few exceptions it should be the character. Second, on film - as opposed to stage - we're pretty much playing basic emotions: love, anger, fear, pity. So the trick is whether you can come up with any fresh choices to present these common emotions. Third - and this is the quality that separates the great ones from the good ones - I look for a "joy of performing" quality. Who had that quality? As much as anyone, Jimmy Cagney [James Cagney].
The [Academy Awards] ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.
There is no question you get pumped up by the recognition. Then a self-loathing sets in when you realize you're enjoying it.
[on psychoanalysis] Four visits. I kept laughing. I couldn't get serious. If it helps you, it helps you. If standing on your head on the roof helps you, it helps you - if you think so.
Directors are supposed to help the audience. Good directors don't direct actors.
Bette Davis is my bloody idol. I admire her more than any other film star.
I became an actor to escape my own personality. Acting is the most therapeutic thing in the world. I think all the courage that I may lack personally, I have as an actor.
I have nothing against Oscar. I know what he stands for and it's terrific. And I think when people used to hang around and pat each other on the back over a drink and dinner it was wonderful. But when it became an international hoopla, where careers lived and died on whether or not you did or didn't get an Oscar, then it got out of hand.
Actors are the world's oldest, underprivileged minority - looked upon as nothing but buffoons, one step above thieves and charlatans. These award ceremonies simply compound the image for me.
My violent behavior is some sort of aberration, a character defect I'm not particularly proud of.
Acting changes the inner spirit. It's fulfilling, but psychologically very costly. You can't steal enough money in a lifetime to make up for the damage. I'm ashamed for the bitterness it created in me, but it exists. Even when you're successful it's hard to rise above it. It's like a growth.
[on acting] It was the only avenue of escape I had from myself. It's never been difficult to subjugate myself to a part because I don't like myself too well. Acting was, in every sense, my means of survival.
Film is not an actor's medium. You shoot scenes in order of convenience, not the way they come in the script, and that's detrimental to a fully developed performance. There's the terrible tedium and boredom involved in waiting around for the camera to be set up, and then you have to turn on and off when they do the scene over again. When you see the rushes is the first time you begin to judge your performance. If you get 50% of what you hoped for, you're lucky.
I think you have to be schizoid three different ways to be an actor. You've got to be three different people. You have to be a human being. Then you have to be the character you're playing. And on top of that you've got to be the guy sitting out there in Row 10, watching yourself and judging yourself. That's why most of us are crazy to start with, or go nuts once we get into it. I mean, don't you think it's a pretty spooky way to earn a living?
Since childhood, the whole self-loathing thing was a big part of my makeup. Now I've learned to say, "OK, I've screwed up". Then I try to make amends.
For me the sexiest woman on the screen ever was Joan Blondell.
[on Paul Newman] I've never thought that Paul was a particularly good actor. He's one of the sweet people of the world, an excellent producer. But I've never been a Paul Newman fan as far as acting goes. The only thing Paul's ever done I really thought was first class was Hud (1963).
[on Jack Nicholson] He's eccentric but very interesting. A unique kind of approach. He shines because he's himself a rather interesting eccentric. A very fascinating actor.
[early thoughts on Patton (1970)] It's an inadequate script and it's very difficult for me. Patton was misunderstood contemporaneously and he's misunderstood here. And I'm ashamed of being a part of it.
Acting is just a matter of observation, imitation and communication. That's what it's all about.
Actors are always in trouble. A director who isn't a help is a drag.
Technique is making what is absolutely false appear to be totally true in a manner that is not recognizable.
The audience is a dark thing, a peculiar animal, an enemy that must be assaulted and won. It doesn't matter a damn what the actor does or does not feel. It's what the lady down there in the blue hat is feeling.
[on training to be an actor] Much of the learning process is finding out what not to do, like indulging in excesses... method acting, where they all get together and act for each other in a test-tube atmosphere.
|"East Side/West Side" (1963)||$10,000/episode|
|The Day of the Dolphin (1973)||$750,000 against 10% of the gross|
|The Hindenburg (1975)||$1,000,000 + percentage of profits|
|The Formula (1980)||$1.25 million|
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