Wednesday, March 3, 2021

In Memoriam: Geoffrey Scott (1942-2021)



Dark Shadows was known for actors with myriad positive qualities. When considering the male leads to appear after Mitch Ryan, ‘stalwart’ isn’t always the first word to shuffle up on the rolodex. Could David Selby, Roger Davis, and Joel Crothers project the quality if called upon? Of course. Blindfolded, in their sleep, on an iced tightrope, in a hurricane, backwards, with a drink in their hand… not spill a drop. They could be ‘stalwart’ with characteristic ease and truth, but Geoffrey Scott simply was. This was, literally, the Marlboro Man come to Collinsport. This was a man so tough that he went from having both legs crushed in a biking accident to resuming a career as a virile, athletic screen presence. He topped this by moving to the Rocky Mountain area because he enjoyed the skiing. If I discovered that he were powered by the rays of Earth’s yellow sun, far from his native Krypton, I wouldn’t be surprised. He held his own against the Hulk and Margaret Hamilton at various points in his career, and that cannot be said for many other actors.  

He came to us on Dark Shadows with an unenviable task. Thanks to the 1897 storyline, Angelique credibly transitioned from unforgivable villain to a clever, brilliantly strategic heroine with a wistfully sad Secret. It is probably the most overlooked gem in the crown of that storyline. Soon after, we reunite with her in late 1969 to find her married. Dark Shadows fans are protective of Angelique.  What kind of man could possibly satisfy this literal Force of Nature? Casting the part of her husband may have been one of the most difficult tasks for the producers in the course of the show. The answer? Again, the Marlboro Man… Hollywood-born stuntman, model, and actor, Geoffrey Scott. 

Not just the Marlboro Man, but also a Camel smoker who, we were told, walked more than a mile for one... he walked to the Taj Mahal! Only a guy like Geoffrey Scott could do that with an easy confidence that made him look right at home.  

As hunky, magnate publisher, Sky Rumson, Scott was as warmly likable as he was blindly ambitious when we discovered his true identity as a Leviathan cultist. After the headaches caused by the intense and introspective Collins men, it’s understandable why Angelique finds this rugged, all-American, hardworking businessman an uncomplicated relief. And It's just as easy to feel her betrayal when his occult affiliation surfaces. Lara Parker and Geoffrey Scott had an easy chemistry, and that’s understandable. Both appeared with Dan Hedaya in the off-Broadway musical, Lulu, and made a darn good looking couple. 

Scott went on to be in constant demand for commercials, television, and film. A frequent guest star on programs like Matt Houston, Harry-O, and Dynasty, he was no stranger to comedy, also appearing on Married… With Children. He was a lead as well, starring in the innovative NBC program, Cliffhangers, with Jerry Reed in Concrete Cowboys (taking over in a role originated by Tom Selleck), and in one of the first made-for-cable series, 1st & Ten. The latter was a role he won out from competing actor, Chris Pennock. No hard feelings. He was simply made for it.

Like John Beck, Geoffrey Scott was the kind of star who refused to be taken down by the bullet of fashionable irony that pursued the unique, American institution known as the square-jawed leading man. There was, and we hope, always will be a demand for actors of the honest and knowing strength epitomized by Mr. Scott. His career began on Dark Shadows, and as one of its alums, he made the show proud by continuing to evolve as a hardworking and welcomed presence across the spectrum of performance. His final film role was as the president in 2003’s Hulk. 

He had my vote. Thank you, sir.

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