It was none other than Ginger Rogers who nicely summed up the appeal of her costar in the 1935 musical comedy Roberta. Surveying his husky good looks, she declared: You big beautiful American.
That’s a pretty good introduction to Randolph Scott, who started out in life looking almost as aristocratic as he appears above. The irony is, of course, that Scott is most remembered today for his many successful bottom-of-the-bill westerns.
He was a terrific cowpoke, the rugged, terse, righteously uncompromising protagonist of some of the finest “oaters” ever to come out of classic Hollywood. He certainly ranks among the most popular western figures ever.
Still, how much did you know about Scott? Let’s check the answers to our Monday Quiz (questions can be found in the blog below) and find out. Here we go:
1) Answer: b) Howard Hughes. (Boy, he got around, didn’t he.) It was the future RKO chief who first spotted Scott and got the tyro actor an audition for a movie directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Scott didn’t get the part but his career was off and running anyway.
2) Answer: c) It was the seven westerns in the 1950’s directed by Budd Boetticher that collectively sealed Scott’s place in the history of the Hollywood western. Among the titles, Seven Men From Now and Decision At Sundown.
3) Answer: This question brings up one of the most unusual couples relationships in classic Hollywood history, one that is still debated. Scott first encountered Cary Grant on the set of Paramount’s 1932 romantic comedy Hot Saturday. The two promptly started living together in at least two residences including a beachfront house in Santa Monica. Scott and Grant shared not only residences but also hotel rooms on occasion. Studio bigwigs papered over the arrangement with photos of the two (they look great; check out the publicity shots out on the internet) engaged in various sporting activities, suggesting that the actors were simply carefree bachelors having a swell time with nubile actresses passing to and fro. Scott and Grant lived together on and off for more than a decade; the arrangement survived the former’s first marriage (1936 to 1939) as well as the latter’s (1934-1935).
4) Answer: b) Grant and Scott appeared in two movies together — 1932’s Hot Saturday and 1940’s My Favorite Wife.
5) Answer: Scott costarred with Shirley Temple in 1938’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Reader Ray O’Leary reminds that Scott actually co-starred in two movies with Shirley Temple, the other being 1939’s Susanna of the Mounties.
6) Answer: a) True.
7) Answer: b) False. Scott married twice, the second time to actress Patricia Stillman, a union that lasted until the actor’s death in 1987.
8) Answer: b) Sam Peckinpah, the director of 1962’s Ride the High Country.
9) Answer: c) Joel McCrea, who aced out the young Scott in Cecil B. DeMille’s Dynamite in 1929, and costarred with Scott in his last — and perhaps best regarded — film, Ride The High Country.
10) Answer: b) False. Scott retired in the 1960’s as a wealthy ex-actor. He not only had produced many of his own westerns, but had made several canny investments. He was by all accounts a multimillionaire.