Thursday, November 06, 2008
Lizabeth Scott, Actress (1922- )
The legendary film noir actress Lizabeth Scott was born Emma Matzo in the Pine Brook Section of Scranton, Pennsylvania on September 29, 1922. Emma attended Central High School and Marywood College (now Marywood University).
After moving to New York City while only in her late teens, Matzo attended the Alvienne School of Drama. She also worked as a model.
Her first big break came in 1942 when she was hired to understudy the legendary actress (with a legendary acid tongue) Tallulah Bankhead in Thorton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth; unfortunately, Bankhead never missed a performance and Matzo never had the opportunity to perform. However, Matzo took over the lead in the play from Bankhead's ill replacement Gladys George and garnished rave reviews--the next night, Matzo was no longer needed.
Matzo's luck was forever changed when renowned Hollywood producer Hal Wallis discovered her in 1945 and offered her contract in Hollywood; however, Matzo put Hollywood stardom on hold when she was offered the lead in the Boston production of The Skin of Our Teeth. it was in Boston where Emma Matzo took the stage name Lizabeth Scott.
After moving to Hollywood, Scott made a total of 21 films between 1945 and 1957--her main studio was Paramount and her main producer was Hal Wallis. She made her film debut in 1945's You Came Along, directed by John Farrow (father of Mia) . Her most famous film role was the femme fatale Toni Marachek in the film noir the classic The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin. Scott acted alongside some of the best actors in Hollywood--her other notable films include: 1947's Dead Reckoning with Humphrey Bogart; 1947's Desert Fury with Burt Lancaster and Mary Astor; 1949's Easy Living starring Lucille Ball and Victor Mature; 1949's Too Late For Tears with Dan Duryea; 1950's Dark City with Charlton Heston (whom she also starred with in 1953's Bad For Each Other); and 1951's The Racket with Robert Mitchum.
Lizabeth Scott was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1624 Vine Street).
Her last screen appearance was in the role of Princess Betty Cippola in 1972's Pulp, directed by Mike Hodges and co-starring Michael Caine and Mickey Rooney.
For nearly forty years, Scott has mostly stayed out of the public eye.
The Lackawanna County Library System currently has several films starring Elizabeth Scott; to place a hold, click on any of the following titles: The Racket, Too Late For Tears, and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.
The Local History Collection at Albright Memorial Library also includes a newspaper clippings file on Elizabeth Scott and her local roots in Scranton.
The entire film of The Strange Love of Martha Avers (which is in the public domain) is available from YouTube.