Childhood & Early Life
George Randolph Scott was born on January 23, 1898 in Orange County, Virginia. He was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina alongside five siblings: Margaret, Katherine, Joseph, Virginia and Barbara.
He mother, Lucille Crane Scott, was a member of a rich family. His father, George Grant Scott, served as an administrative engineer in textile industry.
Scott attended Woodberry Forest School and later joined the United States Army at the age of 19. He served in France as an artillery observer before returning to his country around 1919.
After his military service, he continued his studies at Georgia Tech and then went on to attend the University of North Carolina to pursue a degree in engineering and manufacturing. Scott eventually dropped out of college to work alongside his father in a textile firm.
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Randolph Scott developed an interest in acting around 1927 and decided to fly to Los Angeles to pursue his professional acting career. His father, who was acquainted with film director Howard Hughes, provided a letter of introduction for him. Hughes responded by casting Scott in a minor role in George O'Brien’s movie ‘Sharp Shooters’ that released in 1928.
He then continued working as an extra for the next few years, appearing in the movies ‘Weary River’, ‘The Far Call’, ‘The Black Watch’, ‘The Virginian’, ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Born Reckless’.
He started performing on stage after being advised by director Cecil B. DeMille. Scott appeared in the plays ‘Gentlemen Be Seated’ as a minister, ‘Nellie, the Beautiful Model’ as a butler, ‘Julius Caesar’ as Metellus Cimber and ‘Man and Superman’ as Hector Malone.
In 1931, he had his first leading role in the movie ‘Women Men Marry,’ in which he appeared alongside Sally Blane. The movie, made by Headline Pictures, is now apparently lost.
The actor next had a supporting role in Warner Bros.’ A Successful Calamity, a comedy flick by John G. Adolfi. Based on Clare Kummer’s play of the same name, the 1932 movie is about an elderly rich man who strives hard to deal with his selfish young wife and spoiled grown kids.
In 1932, Scott was also featured in the film ‘Heritage of the Desert’ and appeared alongside Jack Oakie and Richard Arlen in the comedy ‘Sky Bride’ and with Cary Grant and Nancy Carroll in ‘Hot Saturday’. He acted in the Zane Grey Western ‘Wild Horse Mesa’ the same year.
The year 1933 saw the actor in a variety of films, including the Western movies ‘Man of the Forest’, ‘To the Last Man’ and ‘The Thundering Herd’, the horrors ‘Murders in the Zoo’ and ‘Supernatural,’ and the romantic films ‘Hello, Everybody’ and ‘Cocktail Hour’. He also had a role in the drama flick ‘Broken Dreams’ that year.
He collaborated with Henry Hathaway for the 1934 movie ‘The Last Round-Up’. During this time, Scott also starred in Charles Barton’s ‘Wagon Wheels’, a remake of the 1931 film ‘Fighting Caravans.’
In 1935, he did a project titled ‘Rocky Mountain Mystery’ with Barton. That year, Scott was also featured in Arthur Jacobson’s drama film ‘Home on the Range’. Also in 1935, he worked in the musical film ‘Roberta’ for RKO Radio Pictures. The company later signed him for the drama films ‘Village Tale’ and ‘She’, the latter of which was an adaptation of H. Rider Haggard’s classic novel of the same name.
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In 1936, the actor reunited with RKO to give another big hit, ‘Follow the Fleet’, a musical comedy with a nautical theme also featuring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. He also played Mae West’s love interest in ‘Go West, Young Man’ that year.
He gave his ‘most ambitious performance’ in Rouben Mamoulian's 'High, Wide, and Handsome', a film by Paramount Pictures, in 1937.
Scott then went on to work with 20th Century Fox, playing the romantic male lead in ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’ alongside Shirley Temple. During this period, he also had roles in the Western ‘The Texans’ as well as in the comedy ‘The Road to Reno’.
In the year 1939, he worked in the film ‘Jesse James’. That year, the actor also reunited with Shirley Temple in the drama flick ‘Susannah of the Mounties’. He also got the opportunity to act in the war film ‘20,000 Men a Year’ and in the action film ‘Coast Guard’ during that period.
Scott then played a Confederate officer in Warner Bros’ 1940 film ‘Virginia City’. The same year, he went back to RKO to work in the romantic comedy ‘My Favorite Wife’.
He co-starred with Robert Young in ‘Western Union’ (1941) and gave one of his finest performances in the film. He also had roles in another Western, ‘Belle Starr,’ and in the spy flick ‘Paris Calling’.
He appeared in the war movie ‘To the Shores of Tripoli’ (1942) and also had his only truly evil villain role in ‘The Spoilers’ the same year. Around the same period, he also appeared in the films ‘Bombardier’ and ‘Corvette K-225’.
He made a cameo appearance in the musical ‘Follow the Boys’ and later appeared in ‘Abilene Town’, the film that cemented his position as a cowboy hero.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Scott had roles in ‘Home Sweet Homicide’, ‘Christmas Eve’, ‘Trail Street’, ‘Return of the Bad Men’, ‘Canadian Pacific’, ‘Fighting Man of the Plains’, ‘Gunfighters’, ‘The Cariboo Trail’, ‘Coroner Creek’, ‘The Walking Hills’, ‘The Doolins of Oklahoma’, ‘The Nevadan’ and ‘Colt .45’.
Until the mid-1950s, he contributed to numerous big screen projects, including ‘Rage at Dawn’, ‘Man in the Saddle’, ‘The Stranger Wore a Gun’, ‘Sugarfoot’, ‘The Man Behind the Gun’, ‘Seven Men from Now’ and ‘7th Cavalry’, to name a few. Scott made his final film appearance in the year 1962, starring in ‘Ride the High Country’.