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Jacqueline Scott, who played the sister of David Janssen’s man on the run in The Fugitive and the wife of Walter Matthau’s bank robber in Charley Varrick, has died. She was 89.
Scott died Thursday at her home in Los Angeles after a battle with lung cancer, her son, Andrew, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Scott’s characters also were married to small-town sheriff Jimmy Stewart in Firecreek (1968) and Dennis Weaver’s salesman in Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971), and on the 1963 Twilight Zone episode “The Parallel,” she was the wife of an astronaut (Steve Forrest) who finds things amiss after he returns home after orbiting the Earth.
In addition to Charley Varrick (1973), the down-to-earth actress appeared in three other films for director Don Siegel — Death of a Gunfighter (1969), starring Richard Widmark and Lena Horne; Telefon (1977), starring Charles Bronson and Lee Remick; and Bette Midler’s Jinxed! (1982), his last movie.
Scott showed up as Richard Kimble’s (Janssen) married sister, Donna, on five episodes of ABC’s The Fugitive, including the 1967 series finale, “The Judgment: Part II,” watched by a then-record 78 million viewers.
The Fugitive was a Quinn Martin production, and Scott also appeared in other dramas for the company, including The F.B.I., The Streets of San Francisco, Cannon and Barnaby Jones.
She also worked on eight episodes of Gunsmoke, five of Have Gun — Will Travel and three of the original Perry Mason.
Born on June 25, 1931, in Sikeston, Missouri, Scott appeared in tap-dance competitions starting when she was 3. She came to New York and appeared in the original 1955-57 Broadway production of the courtroom drama Inherit the Wind, then worked for William Castle in Macabre (1958).
Scott’s résumé also included the films House of Women (1962) and Empire of the Ants (1977) and the TV shows 77 Sunset Strip, Bat Masterson, Route 66, The Virginian, The Untouchables, The Outer Limits, Mission: Impossible, Police Woman and Cold Case.
“I wanted to play all different characters. And I got to do that,” she told Rick Armstrong in a 2016 interview for his Classic Film & TV Café blog. “Once I’d be the good girl and once I’d be the bad girl. … One director, Leo Penn — who is Sean Penn’s father — would call me for anything. We had worked together when we were kids in New York, and he was fabulous.
“Sometimes, there would be a part that people didn’t think I could do. And Leo would say, ‘Well, it’s the last minute and I don’t have time to mess around meeting actors I don’t know. I want Jacqueline.’ He’d push me for the part — and the producers would be happy he did.”
Her husband, former TV writer and press agent Gene Lesser — they met on the set of Macabre and married in 1958 — died June 23 of natural causes in their L.A. home at 94. In addition to their son, survivors include granddaughters Arianna and Valerie and daughter-in-law Sue.
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