Vernon Scott's Obit



Here is the obit for longtime UPI Hollywood reporter Vernon Scott (11/18/2002):

Scott Interviews Marilyn Monroe in 1953

LOS ANGELES (UPI) -- Vernon Scott, who covered Hollywood for more than five decades for United Press International, died Monday following two cardiac arrests at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 79.

The veteran entertainment reporter, who counted many top movie and TV stars among his personal friends, had been hospitalized in critical condition since Oct. 18, when he was admitted to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center for treatment of pancreatitis. He was transferred about two weeks ago to Barlow Respiratory Hospital in downtown Los Angeles.

Tira Scott, who is married to Scott's son, Vernon Scott IV, told UPI that Vernon Scott went into cardiac arrest twice on Monday and was put on life support. She said the family decided to remove him from life support and he was pronounced dead at 1:30 p.m., PST. Scott's family was with him when he died.

Scott had been a Hollywood reporter and columnist for UPI and its predecessor, United Press, for 52 years. He covered movies, television, actors, directors, producers and other filmmakers. He provided a radio version of his interviews for a dozen years on the UPI Radio Network.

Scott also covered political conventions and other national news stories.

"Vernon was a great movie fan and was always honest in his reporting," said Oscar winner Kirk Douglas. "He set a great example for all journalists and he will be missed."

John O'Sullivan, UPI editor in chief, said Scott "painted a faithful picture of tinsel town without ever being snide or cynical."

"He respected the craftsmanship of its directors, writers and stars; they in turn respected the honest craftsmanship that inspired his reporting; and his columns were accordingly filled with well-told exclusives," O'Sullivan said. "In the end, Vernon became as much a part of the history of the movie business as the stars he wrote about. Hollywood, UPI and readers around the world will miss him."

Tobin Beck, UPI executive editor, said: "Vernon was a terrific reporter and writer. His celebrity profiles were interesting, well-sourced, insightful and presented the human side of the stars. Beyond being a great professional, Vernon genuinely was a nice person. He'll be missed."

"Vernon, to me, was the quintessential reporter and writer," said Jerry McGinn, a UPI reporter-editor from 1965-84. "He had a glamorous beat, but his gift to UPI and the world was his commitment to fair, accurate and fast reporting of events swirling in and around the world's rich and famous. He was the best."

Dave McNary, a former colleague who currently works for Daily Variety, said: "He was always a very pleasant even under the most trying of circumstances and deadline pressure. I think he had a real knack for making what he did look very simple and yet anyone who's done journalism, knows that doing that is actually very, very difficult. I have tons of respect for Vernon."

A graduate of the University of Southern California and a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Scott continued to interview and write about Hollywood celebrities until he was hospitalized last month. Many of them offered words of praise for Scott's professionalism as news of his death spread through Hollywood Monday afternoon.

Veteran Hollywood publicist Warren Cowan told UPI that Scott was one of the first Hollywood reporters to interview Douglas at the beginning of the screen legend's movie career.

"Vernon epitomized style and class and creativity and professionalism," said Cowan. "He was a beautiful friend."

Best-selling author Sidney Sheldon -- who is also an Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of the TV series "I Dream of Jeannie" -- remembered Scott as "a very bright and was an honest reporter. He was warm and considerate and he will be missed."

"Vernon was delightful company on the many, many stories we covered together-- and a tough, tough competitor, scooping me as many times as I scooped him," said Bob Thomas, who has covered Hollywood for The Associated Press for 60 years. "As far as I know he had no enemies in the Hollywood community, the reason being that he quoted people correctly and didn't go for the low blows."

"Vernon Scott was an intrepid reporter in the purest sense," said actor William Shatner. "He was a shining light in the community as a reporter as well as a human being."

Melissa Gilbert, president of the Screen Actors Guild, had known Scott since she was about 4 years old, having ridden in a carpool with his children.

"I'll miss Mr. Scott -- I would never call him anything else," said Gilbert. "He was my favorite carpool driver, as well as my first and most favorite journalist."

Gilbert also gave her first Hollywood interview to Scott -- when she was 9.

Jane Ayer, a veteran Hollywood publicist who met Scott when she broke in as a 21-year-old, said she was shocked to hear of his death.

"I first met Vernon in 1975 pitching him a Rolling Stones story at Atlantic Records," said Ayer. "It now seems impossible to do my job. I can't imagine pitching a story or pitching an interview without calling Vernon. He has interviewed hundreds of my clients/contacts throughout the years and he was always willing to give the new artist a chance -- something newer journalists don't seem to do these days. Vernon gave unknown filmmaker Nick Park a chance and Nick went on to win three Oscars. Not only will the publicity world be empty without Vernon, but the whole world will be still."

Scott is survived by his son Vernon Scott IV, daughter-in-law Tira, grandson Oliver Scott, 5, and a daughter, Ashley. Both of Scott's children came from his third marriage, to well-known artist Jane Wooster-Scott. All three of Scott's marriages ended in divorce.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

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