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George C. Scott Reports for Duty in “A Christmas Carol”


Most people remember George C. Scott for his Oscar-winning turn in Patton . His real-life military background—he was a Marine, and a ceremonial guard at Arlington Cemetery—definitely served him well there. Perhaps the rest of his personal history helped him inhabit Ebeneezer Scrooge. He certainly had the right mug: the thin-lipped mouth with its low-drooping corners, the crooked nose caused by four different bar brawls, the deep lines carved out by five failed marriages, and a nose indebted to heavy drinking.

At his reported worst, Scott was stubborn, condescending, and menacing; any adjectives that Dickens applied to the misanthrope in A Christmas Carol appear just as often in biographies devoted to Scott. Those parallels go a long way to explaining his definitive portrayal of the Original Curmudgeon in the 1984 made-for-TV remake. Consider this: In his life, Scott turned down two Oscar nominations and was the first actor ever to return his statuette. How’s that for a "bah, humbug" attitude?

A Christmas Carol plays tonight on AMC at 8 p.m. EST | 7 C.

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