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American actor George C. Scott starred in films and on Broadway during his 40-year career. In 1970, he won an Oscar for his portrayal of George S. Patton.
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George C. Scott was born on October 18, 1927, in Wise, Virginia. His first movie, The Hanging Tree, earned him an Oscar nomination in 1959. He was nominated again in 1961, but refused the award, stating his belief that competition among actors demeaned the profession. It was an ongoing struggle between the Academy and Scott. Scott is best known for his film portrayal of General George S. Patton. He worked until his death in 1999.
George C. Scott was born on October 18, 1927, in a small Virginia town in the Appalachian Mountains. At the age of 2, Scott's family moved to Detroit, Michigan, where his father took a job at an automobile plant. His mother, a poet, died when he was 8.
In 1945, Scott joined the Marines and was posted to Arlington National Cemetery. His subsequent four-year tour was marked with heavy drinking and a raft of nose-breaking barroom brawls. After being discharged from the military, he studied journalism under the G.I. Bill at the University of Missouri. While there, Scott auditioned for a role in a campus production of Terence Rattigan's play The Winslow Boy. He won the role, marking the beginning of his career in acting.
Acting jobs did not come easy at first. In fact, it would be years before Scott landed his first big role: as the lead in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of Richard III. His intense stage presence won acclaim by critics and would garner him a lifetime of notable roles on the stage, on television and in film.
In 1959, Scott starred opposite James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder, and was awarded an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. Despite all of his praise, however, he would gain even more attention for his over-the-top portrayal of General "Buck" Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove.
Scott once again turned to his military roots in order to play his most iconic role: General George Patton in the 1970 film Patton. His ability to dominate the screen once again won rave reviews from critics, as well as an Academy Award for his performance. The actor, however, defiantly refused to accepted the honor. Months earlier, Scott had sent a telegram to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rejecting his nomination as best actor, citing his disapproval of the voting process and his disdain for competition among actors. His win at the award ceremony came as a shock to the audience, and led award presenter Goldie Hawn to famously announce, "Oh my God. It's George C. Scott!"
Less controversial was Scott's 1984 performance in the CBS television production of A Christmas Carol. As Ebenezer Scrooge, Scott played the role with a visceral intensity that evoked associations with Reagan and Thatcher. He even played the Dickensian role of the cliché penny-pincher with an American accent.
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