Zachary Scott : Hollywood’s Sophisticated Cad by Ronald L. Davis
Reading bios on actors who are not household names can be quite enlightening at times. The reasons can vary and with this book it’s in part because we often associate the typecasting with the individual when sometimes nothing can be further from the truth.
Zachary Scott was a notable actor in the Warner’s stable of stars throughout the forties and achieved his greatest fame opposite Joan Crawford in the now classic Mildred Pierce. The typecasting stuck. A bit unsavory, not to be trusted, a slickster. The third lead. That’s the Zach we know and love.
I really had no idea about his personal life as his name rarely pops up in other bios that I have read on Hollywood’s golden era stars.
Zach was born in Texas and came from a wealthy background. His father was a Doctor who moved into the cattle business and ultimately oil. Money always seemed readily available when roles were not. He was married twice. His first wife actually left him for writer John Steinbeck. His second wife came into his life after a failed marriage to actor Peter Van Eyck.
He seemed to be a well liked individual and loved by his family members as well as maintaining a friendly relationship with his ex.
It’s the stage work that is sometimes surprising when you read an actors bio. Today we can only look back at their screen roles and have no idea about the versatility they could display on the stage. Would you believe Zach played the Yul Brynner role of The King and I on stage or the Jimmy Stewart role from Bell, Book and Candle? He did.
Whether it’s this book or another on a lesser known actor. Give them a try as they can add to your enjoyment of the films they did appear in. A tip of the hat to Kristina at Speakeasy for lending me her copy.