What Ever Happened To Randolph Scott?

While touring the home of James Madison in Montpelier, Va. recently, the tour guide mentioned that the property was willed to the foundation that maintains the home by a member of the DuPont family who, at one time, was married to Randolph Scott. I talked privately with the tour guide in an attempt to find out more about Randolph Scott because I had heard but was unable to confirm reports that there was a connection between Scott and the city of Charlotte and later UNC. I was never in a position to verify these reports, but one of the real pleasures of retirement is that you are afforded the time to research matters such as this, if you choose, and the internet came along at exactly the right time to facilitate research without requiring extensive travel, telephone calls and/or letter writing.

So when I got back to Richmond after the tour, I decided it was time to determine, once and for all, what the Randolph Scott story was.

For those of you who are too young to know who Randolph Scott was, let me explain that in the 40's and 50's Scott was one of the most popular figures of motion pictures, principally westerns but occasionally other types of movies. He was a John Wayne type actor in physical build and appearance except that Scott was much more handsome and always played the "good guy" roles. He always wore a white hat and was always a perfect gentleman around the ladies and a man around the men. Oftentimes, he would play the sheriff and he always came out on top. It was later that movies started letting the crooks win in movie situations and there appears to be no prospects for turning back. Reality, I think it is called.

Anyway, it turns out that while Scott was born in Orange Co. Va., his family was from Charlotte and his birth occurred while his parents were visiting relatives in Orange Co. So we have to acknowledge the fact that he was a native of Virginia since nativity is determined by the place of birth and not where you grow up and nothing can ever change it. Michael Jordan is considered to be from North Carolina but he is a native of Brooklyn, New York since he was born there while his father was temporarily assigned to New York while in the service. I imagine Spike Lee has never let Michael forget where he was born.

Back to the Scott story. He was raised in Charlotte and after high school he returned to Va. and attended Woodberry Forest Prep school which is located in Orange Country. At this point, it would appear he was on schedule to become a Wahoo since he was from old prosperous Virginia stock and had attended UVA jr. (WF), but something caused him to enroll at Georgia Tech instead of Mr. Jefferson's University. He suffered a football injury at Georgia Tech but I have been unable to determine if he played intercollegiate football while there or not but at any rate, he transferred to UNC where he was awarded a degree in, of all things, Textile Engineering and Management. Lest you think this is an error, keep in mind that the Engineering School was at UNC until 1938 at which time it was transferred to N.C. State in Raleigh. It just seems sort of funny talking about a Textile Engineering degree from UNC.

Scott's last movie was in 1962 and was not one of his better ones. He retired after the movie and played golf and kept his distance from Hollywood until his death in 1987. At the time of his death, he was worth around 200 million dollars due to wise investments and he is buried in Charlotte.

The song "What Ever Happened To Randolph Scott" probably came out in the 60's and, for a while, a lot of people tried to locate him. I even read one time that he was selling used cars in California which is really funny considering how financially well off he was.

My traveling companion teases me about being so North Carolinacentric. I am so I plead guilty. The other day he referred to as a "walking billboard" because of all the UNC apparel I wear when we travel. I'm proud to be from N.C. and I can't wait until I see my buddy the next time because I want to tell him that Dolly Madison, James Madison's wife, was born in Piedmont, N.C. wherever that is. He likes Dolly but I don't think he has ever dreamed she was born in N.C. If Virginia can claim Randolph Scott and New York can claim Michael on the basis of birth, then we can claim Dolly. Of course, with my friend, I will claim all three.

Thought for the Day: To tell it like it is, you must know how it is.