February 21, 1914–October 3, 1965
Actor and Texas native Zachary Scott had an air of sophistication, said one of his fans, that made him look like he’d “been born in a dinner jacket.” Best known for portraying scoundrels, playboys, and villains, Scott was one of Texas’s most recognizable faces during Hollywood’s golden age.
Born in Austin in 1914, Scott studied acting at the University of Texas. He worked in regional theaters in England before landing on the stage in New York. In 1944, when Hollywood discovered his aristocratic good looks, he embarked upon a motion picture career that included more than thirty films.
Scott’s range as an actor was impressive. In 1945, the year that he portrayed Joan Crawford’s suave but shady husband in Mildred Pierce, he also appeared as a poor Texas sharecropper in director Jean Renoir’s masterpiece The Southerner.
But Scott chafed under the Hollywood studio system, which typecast him as a villain. He ultimately moved away from film roles and returned to the stage, enjoying considerable success.
Photo of Gov. Jester watching a man kicking Zachary Scott; Austin, Texas.
In 1965, Scott was diagnosed with cancer and returned to his family’s home in Austin, where he died later that year.
Today, a thriving community theatre named for Zachary Scott stands in downtown Austin, cultivating Texas’ next generation of dramatic talent. Scott’s memory is kept alive in Hollywood as well, where his name graces a star on the renowned Walk of Fame.
Davis, Ronald L. Zachary Scott: Hollywood’s Sophisticated Cad. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2006.
Lisheron, Mark. “Who Was Zachary Scott?” Zach Theatre (http://www.zachtheatre.org/about/who-was-zachary-scott), accessed August 19, 2012.
Lively, Kenneth E. ” SCOTT, ZACHARY THOMSON, JR.,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsc32), accessed August 19, 2012.
First Photo cropped from: Douglass, Neal. [Governor Jester, Actor Zachary Scott, and unidentified man]. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth18926/. Accessed November 2, 2012.
Douglass, Neal. [Governor Beauford Halbert Jester and Zachary Scott]. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth19149/. Accessed November 2, 2012.