If you had never met him before Walter Scott would just seem like a regular old-school cowboy.
He tends to his local Santa Clarita Ranch which houses his horses and steers, a place you have no doubt driven by if you have gone up Sierra Highway past Canyon Country Little League, as he prepares for the next local rodeo he plans to attend.
Dressed in his jeans, non-descript plain t-shirt, hat and boots, he doesn’t come across as a big time Hollywood cowboy, but truth of the matter he is.
Walter has been working in the movie and television industry since the 1960s when he moved out here from Blythe, a small town on the California side of the Colorado River near the Arizona border, to become an actor.
“The first time I met John Wayne I was actually playing a part in ‘The Cowboys,’” says Scott. “We rehearsed with the director first then when over to rehearse with John. The director called him out and he came over and said his line ‘Where yawl been, you ought to get a new Ingersoll watch’ then I replied ‘Well what do you expect, you work us night and day like dogs even Christmas.’ John paused then said to the director ‘Is he going to read that line that way, because if he does I’d hit him, you better move him over there’ and I moved without even looking at the director” says Scott laughing.
He eventually found his way into the stunt business where he developed a career and is known by many industry professionals as an excellent stunt man and coordinator.
“John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Coburn, Lee Marvin. A lot of these guys I doubled,” says Scott, who has spent a lifetime in the business.
Scott has worked on over 100 movies and television shows over the years as an actor, stunt man and stunt coordinator.
Some of his most fond memories come from friendships with James Caan and Clint Eastwood.
“When I got hurt in 1976 and was in the hospital Clint came to find me and see if I was alright. Problem was he didn’t know the hospital I was in so he went to the lot where the movie I had been working on was and began looking for the director. I got a call later that day from the director saying he almost pooped in his pants when he looked through the door to his office to find Dirty Harry standing on the other side looking for me.”
Scott credits longtime friend James Caan into helping him transition to coordinating. “Right when I got out of the hospital James was just starting a show and talked me into coordinating it. After that I began to coordinate all of his shows and really started to make a name for myself as a stunt coordinator.”
He coordinated “Backdraft,” as well as all three “Back to the Future” movies, even playing a small part (man driving jeep) in one of the movie’s most iconic scenes. “It kind of became an inside joke,” Scott says. “The director, Bob Zemeckis, said ‘Let’s turn the camera around and get a shot of Walter driving the Jeep,’ and before I knew it I was in all three movies. Any time Michael hooked onto the back of a moving vehicle, I was the one driving it.”
Walter has been so successful in the industry that he has even passed on his talents to his brothers Ben and John as well as his children Wes and Ann, along with a host of others who work as stunt professionals.
So the next time you go to the movies or pop in a DVD or watch a film on TV, make sure you roll all the way through the credits, because you never know, you might have just seen Walter Scott.