Harold Scott, Award-Winning Actor and Director, Dies at 70

Obituaries   Harold Scott, Award-Winning Actor and Director, Dies at 70
Harold Scott, an award-winning actor, producer and director who had roles in several significant Off-Broadway and Broadway plays in the late '50s and '60s, and thereafter went on to a successful directorial career, died on July 16 at his home in Newark, NJ. He was 70.
From left: Harold Scott and Vic Morrow in the 1958 production of Deathwatch.
From left: Harold Scott and Vic Morrow in the 1958 production of Deathwatch.

The news was confirmed by the Cincinnati Playhouse, where Mr. Scott was artistic director for a time.

Harold Scott won an Obie Award for his 1958 performance in Jean Genet's Deathwatch, in which he appeared opposite Vic Morrow at Theatre East. He was a member of the famous cast of another Genet play, The Blacks, which debuted Off-Broadway and ran for several years in the early '60s. He also appeared in the Off-Broadway premieres of Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band, Edward Albee's The Death of Bessie Smith, and The Egg and I. Critic Harold Clurman called him "a cultivated performer."

He made his Broadway debut in the social drama, The Cool World, which ran for two performances in 1960. By 1964, he was a member of the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center, under Elia Kazan. There, he acted in the premiere of Arthur Miller's After the Fall, O'Neill's Marco Millions, Thomas Middleton's The Changling and Miller's Incident at Vichy.

After one more flop, Jack Gelber's The Cuban Thing, Mr. Scott turned to producing, presenting Lanford Wilson's The Gingham Dog for five performances in 1969. A decade later, in 1978, he made his Broadway directing debut with The Mighty Gents, but, again, the run was a short one. The 9-show run was long enough, however, to win rising actor Morgan Freeman a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award.

Another ten years passed before Mr. Scott directed Avery Brooks in Paul Robeson; the production returned to Broadway in 1995. That same year, he then directed Tennessee Williams' Garden District, one of the last productions at Circle in the Square. In 1995, he received the Lloyd Richards Director’s Award from the National Black Theatre Festival for his “profound contribution to black theatre.” Off-Broadway directing credits include the twenty-fifth anniversary production of A Raisin in the Sun , starring Esther Rolle, at the Roundabout Theatre Company, and The Old Settler at Primary Stages. He also directed at Washington’s Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre Company.

When he was appointed artistic director Cincinnati Playhouse in 1972, he became the first African-American to head a major regional theatre.

Born Sept. 6, 1935, in Morristown, NJ, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University.

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