Lizabeth Scott

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Lizabeth Scott
Birth name Emma Matzo
Born Sep 29, 1922
Scranton, Pennsylvania

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Lizabeth Scott (born September 29, 1922) is an American actress who achieved much success within the film noir genre, as well as other mainstream films.

Early life

She was born Emma Matzo in the Pine Brook Section of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John and Mary Matzo, Roman Catholic immigrants from Slovakia. She 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.

Rise to fame

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 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 asked 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 was credited 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 Harper's Bazaar magazine was seen by movie agent Charles Feldman. He admired the fashion pose and took her 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 potential. As soon as he set up shop 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 noir thrillers. Film historian Eddie Muller has noted that no other actress has appeared in so many noir movies, with more than three quarters of her twenty films qualifying.

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. At the age of 25, Scott's billing and portrait were equal to Bogart's on the film's lobby posters and in advertisements. The movie was the first of many femme fatale roles for Scott.

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 Paula Haller, who, on her return from college, falls for gangster Eddie Mannix (Hodiak), and faces 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. In 1949, she starred as a vicious femme fatale in Too Late for Tears. The film is unusual for featuring her as the main character, rather than the supporting role most women were relegated to in film noirs of the period.

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 that she was a lesbian surfaced. In 1955, she hired famed attorney Jerry Giesler and sued Confidential Magazine for $2,500,000 in libel damages. She charged that the September issue 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." However, her case was thrown out on a technicality and she chose to drop the issue.

In The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood by Diana McLellan mention is made of Scott's activities.

After completing Loving You (1957), Elvis Presley's second movie, Scott retired from the screen. She occasional guest starred on television however for several years.

Later life

In 1972, she made one final motion picture appearance, in Pulp with Michael Caine and Mickey Rooney. After that, she retreated from public view and has declined many interview requests. She has, however appeared at an American Film Institute tribute to Hal Wallis and more recently at the AMPAS Centenial Celebration for Barbara Stanwyck on 16 May 2007.

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

Pin-up Gallery


  • You Came Along (1945) (Paramount) ... Ivy Hotchkiss
  • The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) (Hal Wallis Productions/Paramount) ... Toni Marachek
  • Dead Reckoning (1947) (Columbia) ... Coral "Dusty" Chandler
  • Desert Fury (1947) (Paramount) ... Paula Haller
  • I Walk Alone (1948) (Paramount) ... Kay Lawrence
  • Pitfall (1948) (United Artists) ... Mona Stevens
  • Too Late for Tears (1949) (United Artists) ... Jane Palmer ... aka Killer Bait
  • Easy Living (1949) (RKO) ... Liza "Lize" Wilson
  • Paid in Full (1950) (Paramount) ... Jane Langley
  • Dark City (1950) (Paramount) ... Fran Garland
  • The Company She Keeps (1951) (RKO) ... Joan Wilburn
  • Two of a Kind (1951) (Columbia) ... Brandy Kirby
  • Red Mountain (1951) (Paramount) ... Chris
  • The Racket (1951) (RKO) ... Irene Hayes
  • Stolen Face (1952) (Lippert) ... Alice Brent (Lily Conover, after surgery)
  • Scared Stiff (1953) (Paramount) ... Mary Carroll
  • Bad for Each Other (1953) (Columbia) ... Helen Curtis
  • Silver Lode (1954) (RKO) ... Rose Evans
  • The Weapon (1957) (Republic) ... Elsa Jenner
  • Loving You (1957) (Paramount) ... Glenda Markle
  • Pulp (1972) (United Artists) ... Princess Betty Cippola

External links


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