Angus Scrimm Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (26)  | Personal Quotes (12)

Overview (4)

Born in Kansas City, Kansas, USA
Died in Tarzana, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameLawrence Rory Guy
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The evil screen villain Angus Scrimm, most famous as "The Tall Man" in Don Coscarelli's Phantasm (1979) and its sequels, grew up in Kansas City, but in his teens moved to California and studied drama at USC under William C. de Mille (brother of Cecil B. DeMille). His film debut came as another "Tall Man" he played Abraham Lincoln in an educational film made by Encyclopaedia Brittanica, which led him to a steady career in theater, television and film. His big-screen debut was in Jim, the World's Greatest (1976), directed by then 18-year-old Coscarelli. During this time he was using his birth name, Lawrence Rory Guy. He adopted the stage name Angus Scrimm three years later for his performance in Coscarelli's horror/sci-fi opus "Phantasm", which would mark Scrimm's permanent impression upon modern cinema. His role as the infamous Tall Man has earned him the praise of critics worldwide, as well as a large following of fans. His success in the "Phantasm" films has been parlayed into numerous other malevolent roles including the evil Dr. Sin Do in The Lost Empire (1984), Vlad the Vampire King in Subspecies (1991) and the nefarious Dr. Lyme opposite Nicolas Cage and Charlie Sheen in Deadfall (1993). Scrimm did intriguing double duty as the diabolical Seer and the angelic Systems Operator in Mindwarp (1992), co-starring Bruce Campbell. He did a shock cameo in the Italian film Fatal Frames - Fotogrammi mortali (1996), opposite Stefania Stella and Donald Pleasence, and managed a gleeful parody of himself as the hulking henchman in Transylvania Twist (1989). Scrimm has not limited his career efforts to simply acting, however. As a journalist he has written and edited for "TV Guide", "Cinema Magazine", the now-defunct "Los Angeles Herald-Examiner" and other publications. He has also written liner notes for thousands of LPs and CDs, for just about every genre from classical music to jazz, from Frank Sinatra and The Beatles to Artur Rubinstein and Itzhak Perlman. He won a Grammy award for best album liner notes.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tzvetislav Samardjiev, tzvetislav@abv.bg

Trade Mark (3)

His character of The Tall Man in the Phantasm movie series and in several parodies and commercials.
Deep voice
Towering height

Trivia (26)

Has been nominated several times for Grammy Awards for his liner notes. He has won at least one Grammy Award. That is, he won exactly one Grammy Award as his alter-ego Rory Guy. The category was "Best Album Notes, Classical" and he won for his notes on "Korngold: The Classic Erich Wolfgang Korngold" in 1974.
In playing the Tall Man, he wore suits that were several sizes too small and a pair of special boots with lifts inside to make him appear taller.
Played the Tall Man in a satirical commercial for Fangoria Magazine, a horror magazine.
Because he was suffering from laryngitis, in the opening scene of Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998) his usually gravelly Tall Man voice sounded more like Orson Welles.
Being a teenager, he worked as a theater usher where he learned by heart all of the dialogue of the movie playing there, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943).
Turned up in his Tall Man costume and said "BOOYYY" when he was asked at a party thrown for a Hollywood Poster shop-owner Ron Borst. Then director Jim Wynorski, who was at this party, subsequently cast him for the role of evil Dr. Sin Do in a film he directed called The Lost Empire (1984).
Speaks French and Flemish.
He is reputed to be an excellent cook.
His stage name, Angus Scrimm, he made up himself, a combination of a relative's name and a stage curtain (called a scrim).
He has done stage work in recent years with the theater company of acclaimed writer Ray Bradbury.
Don Coscarelli wrote the character of "Buddy" in his episode of Masters of Horror (2005) specifically for him, out of necessity of making the story long enough to fit in an hour slot.
He claims he grew up admiring the works of William Powell, Cary Grant, and Ronald Colman.
He is a lover of the comedy genre. His dream acting job would be playing a funny part in a parlor comedy.
He is a devoted fan of classic black and white horror films such as Frankenstein (1931) and Dracula (1931). He reportedly dislikes brutality in movies and gore for gore's sake.
He played the role of a funeral director in an episode of Santa Barbara (1984).
He loves performing in live theater and has and extensive experience on stage, but nowadays, he only does it when he's asked to.
When his real name was published by Fangoria Magazine, he received some prank phone calls.
He worked for Capitol Records for nine years, writing album notes for the singers the label had under contract, such as Nat 'King' Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli.
His big screen debut role was at age 46. He played the role of "Henry" in Curtis Hanson's first movie Sweet Kill (1972), produced by Roger Corman.
After finishing studies at USC, his first professional acting job was portraying Abraham Lincoln in a series of short biographical films for the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1951.
He was a schoolmate of Sam Peckinpah at USC. Peckinpah came to USC from Fresno to do a graduate job while Angus was in his junior year.
He used to do some showcase theater off campus, but William C. de Mille didn't like his students at USC to do that. Young Lawrence then created the pseudonym "Angus Scrimm" to cover his tracks. Many years later, he revived it to play The Tall Man in Phantasm (1979).
He majored in Drama at the University of Southern California under William C. de Mille, who was Cecil B. DeMille's brother.
During his first semester at USC, he contracted tuberculosis and spent two years recuperating. During that time he read both Testaments, H.G. Wells' "History", Homer's "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey", Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Erasmus, Voltaire, Gerard Willem Van Loon, Marcel Rousseau and countless other authors.
In the mid-90s the British Encyclopedia of Horror printed a book with a little thumbnail sketch in which Angus was alluded to as a minor American horror icon. He subsequently wrote them a letter saying the following: "I'm so grateful to be listed at all, and I realize at my age I'm not apt to attain the record of a Boris Karloff or a Bela Lugosi, but if I manage before my end to make another two or three significant horror films do you think I might be up to a middling horror icon?". He never got a reply back.
In his younger years, Angus used to be 6' 4'' at his peak height. Nevertheless, he has shrunk considerably due to his advanced age and nowadays he is reportedly not taller than 6' 1''. His imposing stature as The Tall Man in the Phantasm movies was achieved by a simple combination of wise camera angles, suits several sizes smaller and boots with lifts inside.

Personal Quotes (12)

I still want to do that drawing room comedy. If they ever revive that.
I probably shouldn't confess to this, but I groove on being recognized. But it seldom happens, possibly because I rarely go anywhere dressed in a tight-fitting black suit and boots with two-inch lifts in them.
The MPAA has cracked down pretty badly on the Phantasm pictures. Censorship obviously is necessary, and I'm all for it. I just don't like it when they cut my pictures.
If I did the Tall Man once more, I think I'd like to make him darker and scarier again. Seems to me he softened up a bit in the last episode. I'm quite happy though with the existing quartet of films as a complete and final entity.
[on reprising his role as The Tall Man] I'd jump at it. I'm a little protective of the Tall Man. I'd be reluctant to make a "Phantasm" that wasn't up to the other four. I think it's a very good quartet of motion pictures. If we did another picture it would need to be just as original and just as sparkling in its ideas and freshness as the first and as the subsequent ones. That would be the deterrent and then of course getting it financed in today's film industry would be a challenge.
At a 30th Anniversary screening of the original Phantasm (1979), one fan approached me and said, "You did such a fine job on this movie, you should have played 'Emperor Palpatine' in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)." For me, that was a deep honor.
Playing the Tall Man is definitely an acting challenge. On the one hand, he's a character that must be played with consistency. But I've also had to take great pains to giving shading to his sinister qualities. It would be very easy to fall into the trap of playing him in a one-dimensional manner.
[on playing the Tall Man] I like the idea that people think that I give myself so totally to the character. The horror side of this character is a fascinating one to explore. It's so totally unlike my true nature that it's fun to submerge myself in the Tall Man and see what develops.
The Tall Man has an ironic glint of humor hidden beneath that horrifying exterior. There's also an extreme sense of drama to the things he does. There's much to like about the Tall Man that goes beyond his ability to scare people.
The Tall Man is a much deeper role than most people realize. There are many ironic bits of humor that lay in the character's subtext. There's also extreme drama. It's a role many people would give their right arm to play.
[from an interview in 1988] In real life, I've never had the opportunity to be very sinister. When I was growing up, I was usually the kid everybody beat up. It looks like I'm finally getting a chance to get even.
[Describing the making of the Phantasm trilogy] In the end, it was all great fun.

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