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Obituaries

Evelyn Scott, 86; 'Peyton Place' Actress, First Female DJ on L.A. Radio Station

February 13, 2002|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Evelyn Scott, the tough-talking saloon keeper of the pioneering prime-time television soap opera "Peyton Place," has died at 86.

Scott, who began her career as Los Angeles' first female disc jockey on radio station KMPC, died of undisclosed causes Jan. 31 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The actress became a regular on "Peyton Place," which was based on a Grace Metalious novel and 1957 movie of the same title.

Considered scandalous for its time, the show depicted the extramarital affairs, dark secrets and skulduggery of residents of a small New England town called Peyton Place.

Scott played Ada Jacks on the original TV series from 1965 to 1969, reprised the role on "Return to Peyton Place" from 1972 to 1974 and did it again for the 1985 TV movie "Peyton Place: The Next Generation."

At the end of the 1960s series, Scott told The Times that the friendships she made among the vast cast were the most important thing about her five-year run.

"They last more than anything else," she said.

Scott still felt the same way a few decades later when she rejoined a handful of original cast members and a lot of newcomers to shoot "The Next Generation" in Waxahachie, Texas.

"The main reason I came back," the then-septuagenarian said in 1985, "is to see all my friends again. It's like a class reunion, yet it still seems like the day before yesterday. None of us has lost our touch."

Born in Brockton, Mass., the blue-eyed, red-haired Scott came to Los Angeles for a career in show business.

She started out as a disc jockey, the area's first woman in that role, spinning records for KMPC's early morning "Wake-Up" show and then became a singing DJ on KHJ's similar "Rise and Shine" morning program.

Scott began acting in local companies, including the Stage Society, West Coast Theater, Civic Playhouse and Pasadena Playhouse.

In the 1950s, she had small roles in a handful of motion pictures, including "Wicked Woman," "The Green-Eyed Blonde" and "I Want to Live!" starring Susan Hayward.

Scott also appeared in episodes of such popular TV series as "Bonanza," "Gunsmoke" and "Perry Mason."

In her private life, Scott was involved for many years as a board member of Portals House Inc., a center to aid mentally troubled people.

She also was a fund-raiser and major supporter of OPICA Adult Day Care, which aids senior citizens, and regularly recruited friends to help serve dinner to the homeless at Skid Row centers.

Formerly married to blacklisted writer Gene Stone, Scott married importer Urban S. Hirsch Jr. in 1961. She is survived by Hirsch and three stepchildren, Urban III, Rita and Karen.

A memorial service is planned Feb. 23.

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