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Personal Best 1982

This publicity photo is from Scott's 1982 movie, Personal Best.

The biography below has been compiled from all sites and info I could find about Scott Glenn. If I have misstated facts or infringed on copyrighted material, please email me and I will correct or remove it.

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Theodore Scott Glenn was born January 26, 1942, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the eldest of three children born to Theodore and Elizabeth Glenn. He has a sister, Bonnie, and a brother, Terry. Their dad was a traveling salesman and later an executive for Snap-On Tools. The family moved to Bryn Athyn (northeast of Philadelphia) when Scott was 12.

He says in a 1998 interview with Patricia O'Haire for New York Now, "There's a story in my family - I don't know how true it is, but I'd like to believe it - that we're related to Lord Byron. When I was a kid, I started reading his poetry. I loved it. I decided to be the next Lord Byron."

Stricken with scarlet fever when he was nine, Scott spent almost a year bedridden in a darkened room, unable even to read for much of that time due to his sensitivity to light caused by the disease. Of this time, Scott says "I learned to live in my imagination quite a bit. Before, I was a kid who liked flowers and poetry, but afterward I became psychotic about being in shape." His poor health left him with a limp which doctors predicted he would have for life. Through intense physical training, Scott was able to overcome it. This period of Scott's life certainly must have helped shape his character, not only by providing the impetus for his love of language but also the determination to overcome physical challenge. Perhaps it also shaped Scott's philosophy of life, as he has said, "You know, I believe that all the best things in life are accidental, that you have to jump as high as possible and see which way the wind blows."

Scott graduated from William and Mary College in Virginia with a major in English, intending to become a writer. He then served three years in the Marine Corps. After his stint in the service, he worked as a reporter for five months with The Kenosha Daily Tribune in Wisconsin. He almost lost the job when he turned a biography of a businessman into an obituary. He redeemed himself by scooping a local crime story when the police chief's wife shot and killed the chief's mistress with the chief's pistol in his squad car.

In 1966, Scott was offered a journalism job in the Virgin Islands. He stopped in New York City on the way. Scott says, "I was writing a play, but having trouble with dialogue. So a friend suggested I take an acting class, figuring if I learned how to speak lines, it might help."

"It was an accident that the teacher I found was Bill Hickey," he says of the noted character actor ("Prizzi's Honor") who was his first coach. After a few days with Hickey, Scott says he realized that, "acting was the one thing I was born to do."

Scott worked as a bricklayer, a bouncer at lower East Side clubs, and helped in directing student plays to pay for his studies. He appeared onstage in La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club productions. Soon after arriving in New York, he became a fan of martial arts, which came in handy in some of his later roles. In 1968 he joined the Actor's Studio and began working in professional theatre and TV, garnering the role in 1969 of Calvin Brenner in the soap "The Edge of Night." At the same time he worked Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, in school halls, at the Public Theater - anywhere to develop his skills. His first major stage role was in "Fortune and Men's Eyes."

In 1967, he met Brooklyn-born fashion model Carol Schwartz on a blind date in New York. When Carol went on a modeling assignment to Paris, the smitten Scott followed her and persuaded her to come home early. They were married within a year, after Scott converted from Catholicism to Carol's Jewish faith. Carol enrolled in pottery classes and has since gained recognition as a potter, ceramist, and painter.

In 1970, James Bridges offered Scott his first movie work in "The Baby Maker." They moved to Los Angeles, where he spent what he calls the seven "most miserable years of his life". He couldn't find interesting film roles and, doing brief TV stints, he felt "like a person who had to paint the Sistine Chapel with a house-painter's brush". He was often unemployed and Carol helped support them by working for a caterer. Their daughter Dakota was born around 1971. A Lamaze graduate, Scott delivered their second daughter, Rio, himself (ca 1974) then carried her around to meet the family cats and dogs!

He worked with Jonathan Demme ("Angels Hard As They Come", 1971, "Fighting Mad", 1976), Robert Altman ("Nashville", 1975) and Francis Ford Coppola ("Apocalypse Now", 1976, released in 1979). He saved the world from "The Gargoyles" in the 1972 horror cult classic, again played a biker in "The Shrieking" in 1973, and filmed his first western in the 1977 "She Came to the Valley."

In 1978, Scott moved his family to Ketchum, Idaho, where he worked as barman, huntsman and mountain ranger for two years while occasionally acting in Seattle stage productions.

He was offered a role in the movie "Cattle Annie and Little Britches." The movie wasn't a big hit, but it did lead James Bridges to call him again, this time for the stand-out role of ex-con Wes Hightower in 1980's "Urban Cowboy" with John Travolta. "After that, I'll never have to audition for a movie role for the rest of my life."

Scott earned many lead roles in the 1980s, including the martial arts movie "The Challenge;" the Mercury 7 astronauts' story "The Right Stuff;" the horror classic, "The Keep;" the classic western "Silverado;" and
HBO movies including "Countdown to Looking Glass" and "As Summers Die."

Scott seems to push the envelope physically in both his personal life and in many of his roles. He is very proud of his stunt work and credits as a member of the stunt crew in "Backdraft." He is an avid skier and skydiver. Carol shares many of his athletic interests, though she says that wasn't always true. Carol became interested in training while Scott was filming "Personal Best," (as coach to Olympic pentathlete played by Mariel Hemmingway.) Now she runs, trains with weights, hikes, climbs, skis, and rides 10 speed bikes with Scott.

Scott filmed 25 more movies in the 1990s, including "Hunt for Red October," "Silence of the Lambs," "Backdraft," "Courage Under Fire," and "Absolute Power."

Along the way, he has also returned several times to the New York stage with roles in "Collision Course," Burn This," "Dark Rapture," "Killer's Head," and "Killer Joe" (nominated for Drama Desk Award.)

The year 2000 brought him to "The Vertical Limit" where he again faced physical challenge in the form of ice climbing. In 2001, the movies "Training Day," "The Shipping News," and "Buffalo Soldiers" kept Scott a busy man. He starred in "The Seventh Stream" for Hallmark and CBS, and seemed set to star in a proposed new detective series for CBS called "Diamondhead" to be filmed in Hawaii with Jerry Bruckheimer, but this fell through. In the fall/winter of 2002, he filmed "A Painted House" which aired in April 2003.  The tv pilot "Homeland Security" was released as a tv movie and not made into the expected series. The movie "Puerta Vallarta Squeeze" based on the book by Robert James Waller, was filmed in 2003 but not set to release on dvd until April 11, 2006.  Meanwhile, several other works have already released. (See Filmography)

Apocalypse Now


Date of Birth: January 26, 1942

Astrological Sign: Aquarius

Eyes: brown
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 150

Education: graduated with B.A. degree from William & Mary College, Virginia; English major

Family History:
HAPPILY Married to artist and former model Carol Schwartz over 30 years. They met on a blind date (and went to a movie, which they sat through twice.)
Scott says of Carol, "She's the sexiest woman I know." They have two daughters, Dakota Ann (a writer) and Rio Elizabeth (an actress)

Wife Carol taught their Ketchum neighbor, Demi Moore, how to use a potter's wheel for the famous scene in Ghost.

First Stage Role: Fortune and Men's Eyes

First Movie Role: The Baby Maker (1970)

Lives in : Ketchum, Idaho; Baja,Mexico; and Tribeca, New York City

Has made three movies with longtime friend, Gary Busey, who calls Scott "an adrenaline junkie."

As of 2001, Scott has appeared in 56 movies!

Scott rode along with the Chicago Fire Dept.'s Squad 5 in preparation for his role in Backdraft.

In filming Backdraft, Scott was actually set on fire and suffered hairline burns. He is credited as a member of the stunt crew on that movie.

His daughter, Dakota, wrote the script for Larga Distancia and daughter, Rio, appeared with him in that film and also in The Last Marshall and Naked City: Killer Christmas.  Rio started "in the business" by working as a gopher on My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.

In 1980, Scott made headlines when he rescued three small children from drowning.

Scott enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving a pre-Vietnam tour in the elite Force Recon unit.

While filming Apocalypse Now in the Philippines, he lived with the Ifugao, learned their language, and was made an honorary member of the tribe.

During the filming of Urban Cowboy, he was gored in the hand by an eighteen hundred pound bull.

On filming Cattle Annie and Little Britches in Mexico with Burt Lancaster, Scott says, "There wasn't much to do in Mexico, so Burt taught me a lot of things, including how to walk a tightrope."

In filming Vertical Limit Scott enjoyed ice-climbing so much that he talked the director into including actual footage of him climbing an ice waterfall.

Scott is left-handed, but taught himself to "become" right-handed for six months for authenticity in the role of Alan Shepard in The Right Stuff.