Saturday, January 23, 2016

Born Today January 23: Randolph Scott


Born George Randolph Scott in Orange County, Virginia--his original focus was that of a multi-talented athlete; excelling in such sports as American football, swimming, baseball and horse racing. When World War One broke out, he enlisted at the age of 19 soon after the U.S. entered the conflict, serving with distinction in France.  He later claimed that this had honed his horsemanship and given him experience with firearms, which would serve him well in his chosen field of film acting.  After Armistice he stayed in France and entered artillery school, and was eventually offered a commission; which he turned down.  He returned to the United States in 1919 at the age of 21.  Back home, he attended Georgia Tech, for which he played football; and eventually the University of North Carolina, where he majored in textile engineering.  He eventually dropped out of college to go work as an accountant at the textile firm where his father was employed.  Around 1927, Scott decided that he wanted to act in film and made his way out to Hollywood.  Scott's father had before this, made acquaintances with Howard Hughes, and sent a letter of introduction with his son.  This letter garnered him his very first film role in 1928 in Sharp Shooters, a comedy, starring George O'Brien, as a bit part as a cafe customer in Morocco.  It was the only fully silent film that he appeared in; though his next appearance in another bit part in 1929 in Weary River, had a few sequences that were filmed in the silent mode.  He would appear in 7 more films in 1929, all of them early talkies, in bit parts; including the Gary Cooper western (the first of many that Scott would act in!) The Virginian.  Scott, actually being from Virginia, was said to have been hired as Cooper's voice coach for the film as well.  Around this time, the director Cecil B DeMill gave him the advice that he should get some stage work, so as to hone his acting skills and get him some much needed experience.  He was able to this at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he got roles in at least four plays, including a bit part in a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.   Scott didn't get his first actual named credit in film until 1931.  Although he is best known for his work in westerns, he made all types of films:  everything from romantic comedies to a few horror films, adventure & fantasy films to war movies; however, of his more than 100 appearances in film, 60 of them were westerns.  Later on, the with the U.S.'s entrance into the Second World War, Scott attempted to gain an officer's commission in the marines, but was rejected due to back injuries.  So, instead he supported the war effort by touring with a comedy act with Joe DeRita, who would later go on to be in the Three Stooges, for the Victory Committee.  He also raised food for the government on a ranch that he owned.  The last film that he made was Ride The High Country in 1962; after which he retired from acting.  He lived out the rest of his life on a portfolio of very successful investments that he made during his acting career.  He resided, with his wife, actress, Patricia Stillman in Beverly Hills, where they lived a life of leisure.  Scott died at home from heart and lung ailments on the 2nd of March 1987 at the age of 89.  He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.  

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