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Lizabeth Scott

Lizabeth Scott

Lizabeth Scott is an American actress. She was born Emma Matzo in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John and Mary Matzo. Her parents were Roman Catholic Slovakian immigrants. The family later resided in nearby Scranton, where Emma attended Central High School and Marywood College.

She later went to New York City and attended the Alvienne School of Drama. In late 1942, she was eking out a precarious living with a small Midtown Manhattan summer stock company when she got a job as understudy for Tallulah Bankhead in Thornton Wilder's play The Skin of Our Teeth. However, Scott never had an opportunity to substitute for Bankhead.

When Miriam Hopkins was signed to replace Bankhead, Scott quit and returned to her drama studies and some fashion modeling. She then received a call that Gladys George, who was signed to replace Hopkins, was ill, and Scott was needed back at the theatre. She then went on in the key and leading role of Sabina, receiving a nod of approval from critics at the tender age of 20. The following night George was out again and Scott went on in her place.

Soon afterward, Scott was at the Stork Club when motion picture producer Hal Wallis sent over an inquiry as to who she was, unaware that an aide had already arranged an interview with her for the following day. When Scott returned home, however, she found a telegram offering her the lead for the Boston run of The Skin of Our Teeth. She could not turn it down. She sent Wallis her apologies and went on the road.

Though the Broadway production, in which she received a credit as Girl, christened her Elizabeth, she dropped the e the day after the opening night in Boston, just to be different.

A photograph of Scott in the magazine Harper's Bazaar was then seen by the movie agent Charles Feldman. He admired the fashion pose and took its model on as a client. Scott made her first screen test at Warner Brothers, where she and Hal Wallis finally met. Though the test was bad, he recognized her possibilities. As soon as he set up shop for himself at Paramount, she was signed to a contract. Her movie debut was in You Came Along (1945) opposite Robert Cummings.

Paramount publicity dubbed Scott The Threat, in order to create an onscreen persona for her similar to Lauren Bacall or Veronica Lake. Scott's smoky sensuality and husky-voice lent itself to the film noir genre and, beginning with The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin, the studio cast her in a series of thrillers.

The dark blonde actress was initially compared to Bacall because of a slight resemblance and a similar voice. Even more so after she starred with Bacall's husband, Humphrey Bogart, in the 1947 noir thriller Dead Reckoning. The movie was Scott's first of many roles as a femme fatale.

She also starred in Desert Fury (1947), a noir filmed in Technicolor, with John Hodiak, Burt Lancaster, Wendell Corey, and Mary Astor. In it, she played the role as Paula Haller, who, on her return from college, falls for a gangster, Eddie Mannix (played by Hodiak), and receives a great deal of opposition from the others.

Scott was paired with Lancaster, Corey, and Kirk Douglas in Hal Wallis' I Walk Alone (1948), a noirish story of betrayal and vengeance.

After being known professionally as Lizabeth Scott for 4 1/2 years, she appeared at the courthouse in Los Angeles, on October 20, 1949, and had her name legally changed.

Scott never married or had children. True or false, rumors and allegations concerning her sexual preferences began. In 1955, she hired famed attorney Jerry Giesler and sued Confidential Magazine for $2,500,000 in libel damages. She charged that in the September issue it was implied that she was "prone to indecent, illegal and highly offensive acts in her private and public life; These implications, Scott said, are willfully, wrongfully, maliciously and completely without truth.", but she lost her case.

After completing Loving You (1957), which was Elvis Presley's second movie, Scott retired from the screen. She continued to appear in occasional guest starring roles on television, however, for several years. In 1972, she made one final motion picture appearance in Pulp with Michael Caine and Mickey Rooney.

Otherwise she lives in obscure retirement somewhere, someplace.

Lizabeth Scott has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures at 1624 Vine Street in Hollywood.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.

Lizabeth Scott Facts

Birth NameEmma Matzo
BirthdaySeptember 29, 1922 (100)
BirthplaceScranton, Pennsylvania, USA

Selected Filmography

Red Mountain
Too Late for Tears
Dead Reckoning
Film Noir: Trailers & Behind the Scenes of Film Noir
I Walk Alone
Strange Love Of Martha Ivers
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