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Zachary Scott posters


February 21, 1914

Birth Sign



6' (1.83 m)


American leading man of suave or sinister roles. A collateral relative of George Washington and William Barclay 'Bat' Masterson, Scott was the son of a wealthy surgeon. Intending to follow his father into medicine, Scott studied at the University of Texas, but found he preferred the theater. He dropped out of college and signed on as a cabin boy on a freighter bound for England. There he found work in provincial repertory, gaining confidence and skill. Returning to Texas, he married actress Elaine Anderson and became active in local theater in Austin. He and his wife were spotted in a play there by Alfred Lunt, who recommended them to the producers of New York's Theatre Guild. Thus, Scott made a successful entry into the Broadway stage, appearing in several successes. In one of them he was noticed by Jack L. Warner, who signed him to a film contract and introduced him to film audiences in the title role of The Mask of Dimitrios (1944). He was well received in the part of the mysterious and debonair scoundrel and seemed destined for a top-level career in movies. read more

Indeed, a subsequent role as the cad in Mildred Pierce (1945) seemed likely to cement him as both a star and as a typecast portrayer of amoral characters. Jean Renoir, however, cast the Texan in a touching and sensitive role in his classic The Southerner (1945). Though he received great acclaim for his performance, Scott was not particularly well promoted by Warners, and his subsequent films declined in prestige. In 1950, a divorce and a rafting accident, in which he was badly injured, sent him into a depression. Subsequently, he married actress Ruth Ford and began to concentrate more on stage and television work. Although he continued to work in films, including one for director Luis Buñuel, Scott never quite reclaimed the level of stardom that he'd achieved in the mid-1940s. In 1965, he was stricken with a brain tumor. Despite surgery, he succumbed in October of that year, at 51. He was buried in Austin, Texas.

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