George Randolph Scott (1898 - 1987) American Actor, Dialect Coach, Associate Producer and Producer. Handsome leading man who developed into one of Hollywood's greatest and most popular western stars. Born to George and Lucy Crane Scott during a visit to Virginia, Scott was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina in a wealthy family. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology but, after being injured playing football, transferred to the University of North Carolina, from which he graduated with a degree in textile engineering and manufacturing. He discovered acting and went to California, where he met Howard Hughes, who obtained an audition for him for Cecil B. DeMille's Dynamite (1929), a role which went instead to Joel McCrea. He was hired to coach Gary Cooper in a Virginia dialect for The Virginian (1929) and played a bit part in the film. Paramount scouts saw him in a play and offered him a contract. He met Cary Grant, another Paramount contract player, on the set of Hot Saturday (1932) and immediately moved in together. Their on-and-off living arrangement would last until 1942. Scott married and divorced wealthy heiress Marion DuPont in the late 1930's. He moved into leading roles at Paramount, although his easy-going charm was not enough to indicate the tremendous success that would come to him later. He was a pleasant figure in comedies, dramas and the occasional adventure, but it was not until he began focusing on westerns in the late 1940s that he reached his greatest stardom. His screen persona altered into that of a stoic, craggy, and uncompromising figure, a tough, hard-bitten man seemingly unconnected to the light comedy lead he had been in the 1930s. He became one of the top box office stars of the 1950s and, in the westerns of Budd Boetticher especially, a critically important figure in the western as an art form. Following a critically acclaimed, less-heroic-than-usual role in one of the classics of the genre, Ride the High Country (1962), Scott retired from films. A multimillionaire as a result of canny investments, Scott spent his remaining years playing golf and avoiding film industry affairs, stating that he didn't like publicity. He died in 1987 of heart and lung ailments and survived by his second wife, Patricia Stillman, and his two adopted children, Christopher and Sandra. He is buried in Charlotte, North Carolina.
During the '30s, was roommates with Cary Grant in a beach house known jocularly as Bachelor Hall. The close friendship between Scott and Grant and the steady stream of women into and out of Bachelor Hall have fed rumor mills for years.
Rode a beautiful blond sorrel horse named "Stardust" in many of his westerns.
Best friends were Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, and the Reverend Billy Graham.
Formed Ranown Productions with producer Harry Joe Brown and produced several films.
Interred at Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, just four blocks from his boyhood home at 312 W. 10th Street.
Was the inspiration for the popular 1973 song "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?," a top-20 country hit for the The Statler Brothers.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1975.
Remained close friends with Cary Grant until the day he died. When he heard of his old friend's death, he reportedly put his head in his hands and wept.
His image from his westerns as an upright, outstanding sheriff or cowboy was so strong, it was paid homage to in Mel Brooks's classic comedy Blazing Saddles (1974). When the African-American sheriff chides the reluctant townspeople that they would have helped Randolph Scott, the great western star's name is intoned by a chorus on the soundtrack and the townspeople are won over.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 764-766. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
He was a conservative Republican and one of Hollywood's biggest supporters of Ronald Reagan as governor of California.
Due to his shrewd financial investments, Scott was reportedly worth around $100 million by the end of his life.
From 1950 to 1953, Scott was among Hollywood's Top 10 box office draws.
He was very ill in the final years of his life, and was hospitalized several times with pneumonia.
Retired from acting at the age of 64 because he knew he could never hope to surpass his performance in the Sam Peckinpah western Ride the High Country (1962).
At the time of his retirement from acting he had been seriously considered for the role played by Chuck Connors in the Doris Day comedy "Move Over, Darling" (1963). It was to have been a reprise of the role he played in "My Favorite Wife" (1940).
Campaigned for Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election, and attended the Republican National Convention.
During the early 1950s, Scott was a consistent box-office draw. In the annual Motion Picture Herald Top Ten Polls, he ranked tenth in 1950, eighth in 1951, and again tenth in 1952.
The back injury that ended Scott's college gridiron career also prevented him from being accepted for military duty during WWII.
Playing golf with Howard Hughes got Scott his first movie job as an extra on a silent film with George O'Brien an Lois Moran.
Scott was hired by Victor Fleming to coach Gary Cooper on speaking with a Virginia accent for "The Virginian.".
Lupe Velez claimed in 1932 that she was going to marry Scott but changed her mind. Scott said he only saw her once at the Brown Derby.
In 1965 Mike Connolly reported that Scott was one of the wealthiest actors in the world with real estate holdings in San Fernando and Palm Springs alone worth over 100 million.
Scott was scheduled to co-star once again with friend Cary Grant in "Spawn of the North," but salacious rumors about the two caused Paramount to replace them with Henry Fonda and George Raft. Shortly after completing his Paramount contract Scott opted not to resign and instead moved to Fox.
They have been the mainstay of the industry ever since its beginning. And they have been good to me. Westerns are a type of picture which everybody can see and enjoy. Westerns always make money. And they always increase a star's fan following.
[in 1962] All the old movies are turning up on television, and frankly, making pictures doesn't interest me too much any more.
Frankly, I don't like publicity. I always remember something that David Belasco said and had incorporated in the contracts of his stars. His theory was, "Never let yourself be seen in public unless they pay for it". To me, that makes sense. The most glamorous, the most fascinating star our business ever had was Garbo [Greta Garbo]. Why? Because she kept herself from the public. Each member of the audience had his own idea of what she was really like. But take the other stars of today. There is no mystery about them. The public knows what kind of toothpaste they use, whether they sleep in men's pajamas and every intimate fact of their lives. When I read publicity about them, I can tell just which press agent they employ.
I had always been a fatalist about my career. What was to be was to be. At least it worked out that way in my case. My retirement is both voluntary and involuntary. One reason, and this is voluntary, is the impact of television. All old movies are turning up on television, and frankly making pictures doesn't interest me anymore. Another reason is that the film industry is in a declining state.
[on his mother] She was an old-fashioned Southern lady who always contended movies were not here to stay, My five sisters took her to see me in a film and the first time she saw me on the screen, she said, 'Oh, no! That can't be Randolph. This feller's older than Randy and not so good-looking.'
[on his short marriage to heiress Marianna du Pont Somerville] Our separation is entirely friendly. It's merely a case of being separated too much, which did not prove compatible with marriage.
[on his father] He went to see all my films, not because he had a son starring in them, but because he thought I looked like Wallace Reid, his favorite actor.