Born Theodore Scott Glenn on Jan. 26, 1941, in Pittsburgh to Theodore and Elizabeth Glenn, young Scott was raised with sisters Bonnie and Terry Glenn in Appalachia a sickly child who spent a lot of time bedridden. But all those illnesses afforded him time to read and dream. He undertook rigorous physical training to improve his health. He later said he once wanted to be a poet like Lord Byron, and enriolled in the College of William and Mary as an English major.
He spent three years in the Marines, and later tried to be a crime reporter in Kenosha, Wisc., and then a novelist, but confessed to "problems with dialogs." Frustrated, he turned to studying acting in New York at the George Morrison acting class, where he directed student plays. He then joined the prestigious The Actors Studio and began getting theater and TV jobs. In 1970, he landed his first movie work, when Jeff Bridges himself offered Scott a part in The Baby Maker.
Moving to Los Angeles, Scott became frustrated looking for interesting roles, and called his first seven years on the West Coast the "most miserable years of my life."
- The Baby Maker (1970)
- Nashville (1975)
- Apocalypse Now (1979)
- More American Graffitti (1979)
- Urban Cowboy (1980)
- Personal Best (1982)
- The Right Stuff (1983)
- Silverado (1985)
- The Hunt for Red October (1990)
- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
- Backdraft (1991)
- The Virgin Suicides (1999)
- Training Day (2001)
- The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
- Secretariat (2010)
- Sucker Punch (2011)
- The Paperboy (2012)
- The Bourne Legacy (2012)
- The Impossible Years, Broadway play (1965)
- Burn This, Broadway play (1987)
Scott has been married to Carol Schwartz since 1967. They have two daughters, writer Dakota Glenn and actress Rio Glenn.
- Scott was an opponent of the death penalty -- until, that is, as part of his research for The Silence of the Lambs, he listened to audio tapes of two teenage girls being tortured and murdered.
- He is one of three actors to play the same character, Jack Crawford, in film adaptations of Thomas Harris novels about Hannibal Lecter: He played the FBI honcho in The Silence of the Lambs; Dennis Farina originated the role in Manhunter (1986); and Harvey Keitel portrayed Crawford in Red Dragon (2002).
- Though naturally left-handed, Scott trained himself to use his right hand for major tasks while portraying the right-handed real-life astronaut, Alan Shepard in The Right Stuff.
- Did 2,000 push-ups in a row on the set of Urban Cowboy.
- Scott tired of the Hollywood lifestyle and moved to Ketchum, Idaho, where he spent two years doing odd jobs before returning to Los Angeles.
- He starred in the 1998 film Larga Distancia, which was written by his daughter Dakota Glenn.
- Scott was cast Clay, the leader of the biker gang in the 2008 FX series Sons of Anarchy, but was replaced by Ron Perlman after a pilot episode was shot.