Lizabeth Virginia Scott (born Emma Matzo; September 29, 1921 – January 31, 2015) was an American actress and a model for the Walter Thornton Modeling Agency, known for her "smoky voice" and being "the most beautiful face of film noir during the 1940s and 1950s". After understudying the role of Sabina in the original Broadway and Boston stage productions of The Skin of Our Teeth, she emerged in such films as The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Dead Reckoning (1947), Desert Fury (1947), and Too Late for Tears (1949). Of her 22 films, she was the leading lady in all but one. In addition to stage and radio, she appeared on television from the late 1940s to early 1970s.
The film All About Eve was supposedly about Tallulah Bankhead and Lizabeth Scott's relationship. Actress Lizabeth Scott received no help from her studio when Confidential slandered her in print and thus sullied her image. In 1955 Confidential published a story that outed Lizabeth as a lesbian and claimed she had hired call girls. She was furious and filed a $2.5 million libel suit. After numerous delays a trial was held in California in 1957. It ended in a mistrial.
In May 1969, the future wedding of Scott to oil executive William Dugger of San Antonio, Texas, was announced after a two-year engagement. In late 1969, musician Rexino Mondo was helping Scott decorate her fiance's mansion on Mulholland Drive before the wedding. She "introduced me to her fiance, Texas oil baron William Lafayette Dugger, Jr. He was in his late forties, of medium build, good-looking, with dark hair, a warm personality, and a strong handshake." Dugger himself described Scott as "A misunderstood soul searching for love. Her outward appearance is just a shell." Dugger planned to make a film in Rome starring Scott, but he suddenly died on August 8, 1969. A handwritten codicil to his will leaving half his estate to his fiancée was contested by Dugger's sister, Sarah Dugger Schwartz. The will was judged invalid in 1971. Previous to Dugger, several books claimed Scott was a mistress of Hal B. Wallis, then married to actress Louise Fazenda. Wallis had a falling out with Scott around the time of Bad for Each Other, with recriminations on Wallis' part. After Scott freelanced for a few years, Wallis made an effort to revive the relationship by making Scott the leading lady opposite Elvis Presley in Loving You (1957), as it might be his last chance to star Scott in anything. After shooting was completed, Scott walked away from film acting to try her hand at singing. The 14-year-relationship that began at the Stork Club in 1943 came to an end. Scott herself knew the relationship was over—only Wallis remained in denial. After Louise's death in 1962, Wallis went into a depression and became a recluse before marrying Martha Hyer in 1966. In later life, he was reticent on the subject of Scott, despite an unjealous Hyer urging him to include Scott and his other mistresses in his autobiography. Though Casablanca was the film of which Wallis was most proud, the ones he watched repeatedly were those starring Lizabeth Scott. Even during his second marriage, Wallis continued to screen Scott's films at home, night after night. Scott herself tended toward secrecy about her personal relationships and publicly disparaged former dates who told all to the press. Once their date appears in the press, "'the man goes off [my] date list' ... 'I think,' said Miss Scott, 'that gentlemen don't tell.'" In 1948, Burt Lancaster said of Scott: "Becoming her close friend ... is 'a long stretch at hard labor.'" In the period between 1945 and the 1970s, the press reported Scott dating Van Johnson, James Mason, Helmut Dantine, plastic surgeon Gregory Pollock, Richard Quine, William Dozier, Philip Cochran, Herb Caen, Peter Lawford, Anson Bond of the clothing store chain family, Seymour Bayer of the pharmaceutical family, David Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford Haven, race-track owner Gerald "Jerry" Herzfeld, and Eddie Sutherland, among others. Burt Bacharach dated Scott during his breakup with Angie Dickinson. According to Bacharach: "She personified what I love about a woman, which is not too feminine but a little bit masculine. Just the strength and the coolness and the separation from the frilly woman who is always touching you and wanting something ... I think Diane Keaton had that kind of quality." In 1953, Scott was briefly engaged to architect John C. Lindsey. Despite the Confidential article, Scott remained active on the Hollywood dating circuit, but the allegations continued to haunt her. A friend, David Patrick Columbia, commented: "One night driving her home from a party we'd been to, she remarked apropos of nothing we'd been talking about, 'and you know David, I am not a lesbian.'"
Scott made her final film appearance in her second comedy noir, Pulp (1972), alongside Michael Caine and Mickey Rooney in a nostalgic pastiche of noir cliches. The director and screenwriter, Mike Hodges, spent a long time coaxing Scott out of retirement to fly to Malta for the shooting. Scott said that while she enjoyed Malta, she was not pleased that most of her footage was cut out—eight scenes in all. Hodges for his part reported that Scott was challenging to work with while shooting and struggled with nerves. Despite disagreements among the cast, crew, and past critics, Pulp, as with the 1949 Too Late for Tears, is considered an artistic success by film historians. After that, Scott kept away from public view and declined most interview requests. From the 1970s on, she was engaged in real estate development and volunteer work for various charities, such as Project HOPE and the Ancient Arts Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she was a major donor. Unlike her favorite actress, Greta Garbo, Scott's seclusion was not total. She continued to date within a close circle of old Hollywood insiders. "One of her best friends was the singer Michael Jackson, and on very rare occasions, she could be spotted on his arm." Nor did she forget Hal Wallis. She appeared on stage at an American Film Institute tribute to Wallis in 1987 and fondly recalled her time with him. In 2003, film historian Bernard F. Dick interviewed Scott for his biography of Wallis. The result was an entire chapter titled "Morning Star", in which the author observed Scott was still able to recite her opening monologue from The Skin of Our Teeth, which she had learned six decades earlier. Scott died of congestive heart failure at the age of 92 on January 31, 2015. Lizabeth Scott has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1624 Vine Street in Hollywood.
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