Saturday, July 11, 2009
Snooty Little Cutie
Zachary Scott (February 24, 1924 - October 3, 1965) specialized in playing charming cads and debauched society lads - which was no surprise since that's basically what he was in real life. The scion of a wealthy Texas family, Scott is perhaps best known (particulary to the SSUWAT crowd) as Joan Crawford's indolent second husband in Mildred Pierce (1945). Having survived that first round with JC, Scott teamed with her again in the campier Flamingo Road (1949).
His box office appeal waning with the dawn of the 1950's, Scott turned to television and stage work, appearing in such summer stock perennials as Bell, Book and Candle around the country.
Scott continued to cultivate his dashing, priveleged image; and even if his movie fortunes were dwindling, his name still carried a certain cachet - witness this 1950 ad for Chesterfield cigarettes, the copy of which prominently plays up his status as a wealthy tobacco farm owner even more than it promotes his then-current film, an independent B-programmer called Guilty Bystander.
By the end of the decade, however, Scott had moved down the rungs from co-starring with Joan Crawford, to Joan Bennett, to canned sandwich meat.
He had also, sadly, succumbed to heavy drinking and depression. He passed away at the tragically young age of 51 in 1965, from a brain tumor. The former prodigal son, movie star and tobacco farmer was nearly penniless.