Born 18 October, 1927, in Wise, Virginia, George Campbell Scott was a critically acclaimed and much adored American actor with over 40 years of acting experience both in front of the camera and on the stage. Having performed in over 70 films and television roles, Scott was usually cast in the role of a gruff man with a heart of gold. Both on and off Broadway, his repertoire ranged everywhere from Arthur Miller to William Shakespeare. Truly a man of unparalleled talent and presence, and a rare breed in Hollywood.
At home both in comedic roles and serious dramatic parts, Scott had an arsenal of movies under his belt that includes some of the best works in cinematic history. In the 1960s, he played Bert Gordon in the intense drama The Hustler with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason, and he was General 'Buck' Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's irreverent political farce, Doctor Strangelove. Scott played an Italian gangster in the delightful The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964).
In 1970, Scott played the role that many believe he was born to perform. In Patton he was the lead in a biographical account of the famous General's World War II years. Many critics agree that the image of George C Scott performing Patton seems more real and alive than the great military leader himself.
Patton was so well received by both the box office and the film industry that George C Scott was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year. However Scott refused to accept it, calling the Oscars a 'meat market'. He was the first Oscar recipient for Best Actor ever to turn down the award.
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.
- George C. Scott
In fact, only one other Hollywood talent in Oscar history has refused the Best Actor Award since: Marlon Brando for the lead role in The Godfather.
In 1975, Scott not only performed but directed a Broadway production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, still lauded and praised as the benchmark for which all presentations of that film are measured. Scott rekindled a dark classic in 1984 by playing the cantankerous and greedy Ebenezer Scrooge in a television movie version of Charles Dickens' The Christmas Carol. Though the Dickens' classic has been put to film several times before and since, Scott's is one of the most human and therefore memorable performances.
Hardworking and dedicated to his chosen craft, Scott was still active until his death, with as many as three different projects scheduled for 1999. He leaves behind a wealth of fine work, and a legacy to which few will ever hold a candle.
Scott was married five times in his life, twice to Colleen Dewhurst and most recently to Trish Van Devere. He died 22 September, 1999, in his California home at the age of 71. He will be sorely missed.