Randolph Scott

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Randolph Scott

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Randolph Scott
Scott in the early 1930s
BornGeorge Randolph Scott
January 23, 1898
Orange County, Virginia, U.S.
DiedMarch 2, 1987 (aged 89)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Resting placeElmwood Cemetery in Charlotte, North Carolina
Years active1928–1962
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Marion DuPont​​(m. 1936; div. 1939)​
Patricia Stillman
​​(m. 1944)​
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1917–1919
Rank Second lieutenant
Unit2nd Trench Mortar Battalion
Battles/warsWorld War I

George Randolph Scott (January 23, 1898 – March 2, 1987) was an American film actor whose career spanned the years from 1928 to 1962. As a leading man for all but the first three years of his cinematic career, Scott appeared in a variety of genres, including social dramas, crime dramas, comediesmusicals (albeit in non-singing and non-dancing roles), adventure tales, war films, and a few horror and fantasy films. However, his most enduring image is that of the tall-in-the-saddle Western hero. Out of his more than 100 film appearances over 60 were in Westerns.[1] According to editor Edward Boscombe, “…Of all the major stars whose name was associated with the Western, Scott [was] most closely identified with it.”[1]

Scott’s more than 30 years as a motion picture actor resulted in his working with many acclaimed screen directors, including Henry KingRouben MamoulianMichael CurtizJohn CromwellKing VidorAllan DwanFritz LangSam PeckinpahHenry Hathaway (eight times), Ray Enright (seven), Edwin L. Marin (seven), Andre DeToth (six), and most notably, his seven film collaborations with Budd Boetticher. Scott also worked with a diverse array of cinematic leading ladies, from Shirley Temple and Irene Dunne to Mae West and Marlene Dietrich. His profile was incorporated into the original logo of the Las Vegas Raiders

At 6 ft 2 in (188 cm), lanky, muscular, and handsome, Scott displayed what was seen as an easygoing charm and courtly Southern drawl in his early films that helped offset his limitations as an actor, where he was frequently found to be stiff or “lumbering”.[2] As he matured, however, Scott’s acting was viewed as having improved, while his features became burnished and leathery, allowing him to portray a “strong, silent” type of stoic hero.

During the early 1950s, Scott was a consistent box-office draw. In the annual Motion Picture Herald Top Ten Polls, he ranked 10th in 1950, seventh in 1951, and 10th in both 1952 and 1953.[3] Scott also appeared in Quigley’s Top Ten Money Makers Poll from 1950 to 1953.[4]


Scott’s face was also the model for the pirate in the Las Vegas Raiders logo since 1960 when the Raiders were originally located in Oakland, California.

Early years[edit]

Scott was born in Orange County, Virginia and reared in Charlotte, North Carolina, the second of six children born to parents of Scottish descent. His father was George Grant Scott, born in Franklin, Virginia, the first person licensed as a certified public accountant (CPA) in North Carolina. His mother was Lucille Crane Scott, born in Luray, Virginia, a member of a wealthy North Carolina family.[5] The Scott children in order of birth were: Margaret, Randolph, Katherine, Virginia, Joseph and Barbara, most born in North Carolina.[6]

Because of his family’s financial status, young Randolph was able to attend private schools such as Woodberry Forest School. From an early age, Scott developed and displayed his athleticism, excelling in football, baseball, horse racing, and swimming.[5]

World War I[edit]

In April 1917, the United States entered World War I. In July, Scott joined a unit of the North Carolina National Guard. He was trained as an artillery observer and earned promotion to corporal in October 1917 and sergeant in February 1918.[7] In May 1918, Scott entered active duty at Fort MonroeVirginia as a member of the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion.[8] The battalion arrived in France in June 1918, and took part in combat with the U.S. IV Corps in the Toul sector and Thiaucourt zone. After the Armistice of November 11, 1918 ended the war, the 2nd TM Battalion took part in the post-war occupation of Germany as part of U.S. VI Corps.[7]

Following the armistice, Scott enrolled in the artillery Officer Candidate School, which was located in Saumur.[8] He received his commission as a second lieutenant of Field Artillery in May 1919 and departed for the United States soon afterwards. He arrived in New York City on June 6 and reported to Camp Mills, where he received his honorable discharge on June 13.[7] Scott made use of his wartime experience in his acting career, including his training in horsemanship and the use of firearms.[9]

After World War I[edit]

With his military career over Scott continued his education at Georgia Tech, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and set his sights on becoming an all-American football player. However a back injury prevented him from achieving this goal.[10] Scott then transferred to the University of North Carolina, where he majored in textile engineering and manufacturing.[8] He eventually dropped out and went to work as an accountant in the textile firm where his father, a CPA, was employed.[11]


Stage and early film appearances[edit]

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Early films[edit]

Around 1927, Scott developed an interest in acting and decided to make his way to Los Angeles and seek a career in the motion picture industry. Fortunately, Scott’s father had become acquainted with Howard Hughes and provided a letter of introduction for his son to present to the eccentric millionaire filmmaker.[10] Hughes responded by getting Scott a small part in a George O’Brien film called Sharp Shooters (1928). A print of the film survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

In the next few years, Scott continued working as an extra and bit player in several films, including Weary River (1929) with Richard BarthelmessThe Far Call (1929), The Black Watch (1929) (directed by John Ford with John Wayne also uncredited) and uncredited as the Rider in The Virginian (1929) with Gary Cooper. Reputedly, Scott also served as Cooper’s dialect coach in this latter film.[citation needed]

Scott was also uncredited on Dynamite (1929) directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and Ford’s Born Reckless (1930).


On the advice of Cecil B. DeMille, Scott gained much-needed acting experience by performing in stage plays with the Pasadena Playhouse. His stage roles during this period include:[12]

In 1932 Scott appeared in a play at the Vine Street Theatre in Hollywood entitled Under a Virginia Moon. His performance in this play resulted in several offers for screen tests by the major movie studios.[10] Scott eventually signed a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures at a salary of US$400 per week (equivalent to $7,900 in 2021).[13]

Movie debut

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