Hollywood's iconic cowboy was a KA brother at Alpha Sigma

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Perhaps no actor has ever been more associated with a genre of film than Randolph Scott was with the western. For decades, Scott played quintessentially American characters in that most quintessentially American style of movies.

He was good at playing the strong, silent type who was adept at protecting his friends and the women-folk — just what you’d expect from a brother in the Kappa Alpha Order.

A Southern gentleman through and through, Scott was born in Virginia in 1898 but raised in North Carolina. He attended Georgia Tech for a time and joined Alpha Sigma Chapter. But his dreams of becoming a football star for the Ramblin’ Wreck weren’t to be, so he went back home to North Carolina and finished his studies at UNC before heading west.

Although his degree was in textile engineering and manufacturing, Scott dreamed of Hollywood. Through his father, Scott met the famed director Howard Hughes and got his first role in the movie business, albeit as an extra in a silent film.

Soon after that debut, Scott was — according to Hollywood legend — hired to teach Gary Cooper how to speak like a Virginia native in “The Virginian,” in 1929. But soon after, Scott moved up to speaking roles on the big screen. His first starring role was in 1931’s “Women Men Marry.” From there, Scott was well on his way to Hollywood success. From the mid 1930s to the mid ‘50s, he was one of the biggest film stars in the world.

As his career was taking off, Scott became known almost exclusively for his work in westerns. He made a series of films based on the work of Zane Grey.

But his work wasn’t exclusively centered on westerns. He starred in horror films like “Murders in the Zoo” and “Supernatural,” both in 1933. He also appeared in “Hot Saturday” in 1932, where he started a lifelong friendship with Cary Grant.

A veteran of World War I, when he had served in France, Scott tried to enlist in the Marines during World War II. But a back injury prevented his return to the military. Scott did star in a few military films during World War II, however, including “Gung Ho” and “To the Shores of Tripoli.

In the postwar years, Scott cemented his status as a Western archetype. He starred in “Abilene Town” (1946) and “Rage at Dawn” (1955). His popularity soared during these years, with Scott appearing among the top 10 box-office draws every year from 1950 to 1953.

Scott continued to make films into his 60s, but he retired suddenly after making a film with a young up-and-coming director named Sam Peckinpah in 1962’s “Ride the High Country.” Scott said in a subsequent interview that he was no longer interested in making movies

A shrewd businessman, Scott was set financially in his retirement years, largely thanks to real estate investments. Some estimates claimed that he was worth close to $100 million at the time of his retirement. He died in 1987, at the age of 89, in Beverly Hills.

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