Randolph Scott is best known as the tall, handsome cowboy of countless Hollywood westerns, an actor whose square-jawed countenance and poker-faced stare became prototypes for the generation of western heroes who followed him.
One of the first actors to form his own production company — during the 1940s when most other stars were under contract to major studios — Scott was thus also one of the first to have a measure of control over what movies he made, and over their box-office profits. A multimillionaire with extensive investments in real estate, he was considered one of Hollywood's wealthiest actors.
Although Scott never won an Oscar, his lanky cowboy heroes — soft-spoken but resolute, quiet but fearless, virile but at heart loners — became so famous that the image of manhood Scott created became, to post-World War II moviegoers, synonymous with the American ideal.
[Updated Feb. 4, 2014: An earlier version incorrectly reported Scott’s birth name. He was born George Randolph Scott.]