George C. Scott, 71, an Academy Award-winning actor with a pugilist's profile and a gravel-throated timbre that he put to brilliant use in portraying military brass in film satires and dramas, died Sept. 22 at his home near Los Angeles. He had suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, the Ventura County medical examiner's office said.
Among his best-known roles are the paranoid, pouty and domineering Gen. Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1964) and the title role in "Patton" (1970), in which he played the four-star Army general and for which he refused an Oscar for best actor.
Instead, Mr. Scott spent the evening at home watching hockey. In interviews, he referred to the Oscars as a "two-hour meat parade" whose nominating process was "offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt."
In his more than 30 film roles--most recently in "Gloria" this year with Sharon Stone--he was nominated for the Academy Award four times. Besides "Patton," he received nominations for playing a slick prosecutor in "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959), his second film appearance, and for portraying a manipulative gambler in "The Hustler" (1961) and a physician who must maneuver through a convoluted bureaucracy in "The Hospital" (1971).
His wife, actress Trish Van Devere, said in 1980 that her husband's dislike of the Oscars stemmed from his loss for "Anatomy of a Murder."
"When he lost, it did a bad thing to him and his personal character," Van Devere said. "He decided he would never let that happen again."
Throughout his life, Mr. Scott's well-publicized drinking and fighting--he was known to have had his nose broken at least five times--"were part of his mystique to interviewers, who often commented on his cragginess while also admiring his devotion to his craft.
He said in 1970: "Patton was not a man of the masses. And I have never been one to admire a man of the masses."
George Campbell Scott was born in Wise, Va., where his ancestors had been miners. He joined the Marine Corps when he was 17 and then started journalism school at the University of Missouri in the late 1940s. After acting in a college play, he decided the stage would be his future.
He worked in theater stock companies in Toledo, Washington, D.C., and Ontario before his first major critical break in New York in 1957, playing the eponymous role in Joseph Papp's production of "Richard III," as well as parts in "As You Like It" and "Children of Darkness" the next year. The plays won him several awards, including the off-Broadway best actor Obie--one of two he would win in his life--and a Theatre World award as a "promising personality." He would receive four Tony nominations during his career.
He made his film debut in 1959 in "The Hanging Tree," playing a drunken zealot who incites fellow townspeople to hang a man, played by Gary Cooper.
Between films in the early 1960s, he acted in the dramatic television series "East Side/West Side," playing a New York social worker who encounters gritty slum life. The series lasted a single season.
Mr. Scott won three Emmys: for directing "The Andersonville Trial" on PBS in 1970; acting in "The Price" on the Hallmark Hall of Fame in 1971; and acting in "12 Angry Men" in 1997.
In the 1970s, he appeared in such less-memorable films as "Rage," "Oklahoma Crude," and "The Savage Is Loose." Also during this time, he appeared in "The Hindenburg," for which he received a reported $1 million.
He received high praise for much of his stage work: in the 1960s, when he was in Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite"; the 1970s, in "Uncle Vanya"; and one of his last roles, playing a blustery stand-in for William Jennings Bryan in the 1996 Broadway revival of "Inherit the Wind." One critic said that Mr. Scott made the drama seem "like watching a horse buggy powered by a Ferrari engine."
Even during the leaner years, after his success with "Patton," Mr. Scott's outlook did not seem terribly diminished, at least publicly. "When I won the Oscar, it doubled my fees at the very least," he said in the early 1980s. "And how do I feel about that? Wonderful. I don't see any paradox at all between my feelings about the Oscar and about the money that goes along with it. I think all actors are astonishingly underpaid. If I could make $10 million a minute, I would still be underpaid."
Mr. Scott was married five times, with four marriages ending in divorce. Two of the marriages were to actress Colleen Dewhurst. His other two marriages that ended in divorce were to actresses Carolyn Hughes and Patricia Reed.
In addition to Trish Van Devere, whom he married in 1972, survivors include six children.
CAPTION: George C. Scott appeared in a 1997 Showtime production of "12 Angry Men," above. He is also well known for his role as Gen. Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 "Dr. Strangelove."