Zachary Scott (February 21, 1914 – October 3, 1965) was an American actor, most notable for his roles as villains and "mystery men".
Born in Austin, Texas, he was a distant cousin of George Washington, and his grandfather had been a very successful cattle rancher. He was also of direct Greek decent, his full surname being Skotidis.
Scott intended to be a doctor like his father, Zachary Scott Sr. (1880–1964), but after attending the University of Texas at Austin for a while, he decided to switch to acting. He signed on as a cabin boy on a freighter which took him to England, where he acted in repertory theatre for a while, before he returned to Austin, and began acting in local theater.
Alfred Lunt discovered Scott in Texas and convinced him to move to New York City, where he appeared on Broadway. Scott made his debut on Broadway in a revival of Ah, Wilderness! in 1941 with a small role as a bartender. Three years later, Jack L. Warner saw him in a performance of Those Endearing Young Charms and signed him to appear in The Mask of Dimitrios.
He appeared the next year in Mildred Pierce to much acclaim. In the film, Scott was Joan Crawford's somewhat sleazy love interest, whose mysterious murder formed the basis of the plot. (The character was equally sleazy but was not killed in the novel on which the movie was based.) In 1946 exhibitors voted him the third most promising "star of tomorrow".
During this period, Scott and his first wife Elaine socialized regularly with Angela Lansbury and her first husband, Richard Cromwell. Elaine Scott had met Zachary Scott back in Austin and she made a name for herself behind the scenes on Broadway as stage manager for the original production of Oklahoma!. The Scotts had one child together, Waverly Scott...
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