Family Concerns

Any sane person would conclude from what is presented here that Ned Scott's surviving family is united behind the attempt to bring his story and artwork to the attention of the world at large.  The Ned Scott Archive just did not come about one night and then emerge full blown in the light of day in its present form.  Even a cursory glance would convince the strongest skeptic that the willing participation of a number of dedicated individuals was necessary to achieve the level of complexity and richness of the story to date.  While it is true that many qualified persons have lent a willing and contributory hand to the formation of the Archive, it must be said that only one family member has carried the burden of this work.  A further point to make, much to my chagrin, is that the remaining family members not participating have made serious efforts to quash this emerging story rather than abet its telling. Both Ned's sister, Delia, and Ned's daughter, Penelope, aggressively and maliciously torpedoed all efforts to bring Ned Scott's story to the public at large, to support research into his career, and to preserve his legacy.

There are reasons for this outcome, and they are rooted in the past.  Ned Scott's upbringing set the stage for future events in his life, and this element has already been discussed in the biography.  Ned emerged into adulthood brimming with negative feelings for his parents, especially his father.  Edward Norman Scott, Esq. was a professional golfer, and he spent his time traveling the European golf circuit.  He was not available to Ned in a family environment.  Their relationship was distant and strained, and Ned resented him for placing him into British boarding schools where he found it difficult to merge with other students because he only spoke French.  Resentment and disdain for his father was an unfortunate development from his experience there, and he retained those feelings throughout the rest of his life.  He was never able to forgive his father for his inattention.  When his father died in 1961, Ned refused to accept his father's favorite things into his household.  If no support came from that quarter, then where did it come from? Support did come from allies, powerful ones at that, but not from members of his own family save for his mother.  I think that Ned Scott felt a certain loneliness and isolation because of this fact, and it may have contributed to the nature of his work.

Ned had two sisters, Ellen the older by four years, and Delia the younger by four years.  Ellen possessed a classic beauty, almost Grecian in character.  Little is known of Ellen because few letters survive which she wrote to any of the family members.  Nonetheless, a rough idea of Ellen's nature may be formed by reading the 1935 Arizona letters.  Ellen's name is often found in these letters, and the comments of others toward her are revealing.  Ellen was a part owner of the J Six Cattle Company, a dogeared cattle ranch East of Benson, with another easterner by the name of Jack Spieden.  Ned visited the ranch and stayed there for several summer weeks working on mending fences and digging water wells.  While there, Henwar Rodakiewicz, Peggy Bok, the Nielsons, Cady Wells and other visited Ned.  These letters relay how Ellen was viewed in those days.  Apparently Ellen was high strung, emotional and given to breakdowns.  A high maintenance woman.  Only a few letters from her to Ned Scott are strongly critical of Ned for one thing or another.  By the time of Spring, 1936, Ellen had left the ranch, presumably being cashed out of her investment by Spieden.  In summer of that year, Jack Kennedy showed up with his older brother to work for the summer.  Ellen died an early death in 1954 from lung cancer.  By that time she was living with her new husband in a small house in the Palo Alto Hills where she was busy breeding pedagree Weimaraner dogs.  It's difficult to find any substantial influence Ellen had on Ned's career.

Delia, however, is another story completely.  Delia married an officer in the British army by the name of Tyrwhitt, and letters reveal that he was in the intelligence branch.  Early in Ned Scott's career in Hollywood, Delia and her new husband would visit Ned on various production sets at several of the major studios.  Being a union member with the International Photographers of the Motion Picture Industries (I.A.T.S.E.), local 659, Ned could visit studios at will with guests.  Letters catalog these visits with Delia and her husband, mentioning how impressed they were with the whole  film production scene.  Meeting and talking with Freddy March and Joan Bennett, for instance, proved memorable indeed.  In today's environment, just imagine dropping in on a Jamer Cameron production, meeting and chatting with stars like Sigourney Weaver: it was that kind of special thing for Delia.  Delia and Ned Scott had a more in depth relationship than Ned had with his older sister, and this proved important as World War II erupted.

Major Tyrwhitt was stationed in Singapore in Fall of 1941.  Being his wife and sole family, Delia was there with him.  After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, British naval officials in Singapore ordered a key task force currently on station to sortie Northward up the Malay Penninsula to prevent Japanese amphibious landings onto the Northern end of the Peninsula. The task force consisted of two ships of the line, the battleship Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser Repulse and four destroyers. They never made it.  Twin engine Japanese bombers flying from bases in Indo China and Formosa promptly sunk both ships of the line.  This event marked the first time that major naval assets were sunk by land based aircraft.  Even though the British officials in Fortress Singapore took the news with brutal shock, they did not listen or heed the tide of events.  Major Tyrwhitt, being informed of the effectiveness, ingenuity and savagery of the attacking Japanese land forces, could not persuade General Percival and his advisers that danger was absolute for Singapore and time was of the essence.  Percival mounted a serious defense too late and too weakly to be effective, and Singapore fell to the Japanese on February 15, 1942.  But prior to this disaster, all civilians and military dependents were evacuated.  Letters from Delia reveal that she was resigned to the move but reluctant to go.  Ned Scott stepped in to help by contacting his friends in Melbourne, Australia through Vallejo Gantner, his old friend at Gantner and Mattern Co. in San Francisco, who was married to Neilma Sydney Meyer of the influential Meyer family.  Arrangements were made and Delia found willing friends who took her in at this difficult time.  Major Tyrwhitt died in the final assault on the island of Singapore.

Delia wrote to Ned Scott from Singapore.  Her address was 4 Caldecott Hill Estate.  On October 3, 1940 her letter made mention of a certain friction or unease in her relationship with her brother.  "Did you get a letter written in February? Or were you so fed up with me that you refused to answer it? Maybe it never reached you..."

Hints of strife between Delia and Ned Scott would erupt into outright shouting matches and slamming doors years later.  As a boy of eight or ten, I remember the times when Delia would visit our home in La Canada, California. She would situate herself in our guestroom, but after two or three days, stormy arguments would erupt between Ned and her, and consequently she would be banished to a local motel. I could never understand any of this, of course, and no one would try to explain it to me.  To keep things smooth over the years, my mother, Gwladys, would carry on a steady correspondence in writing. There are numerous letters from Delia in the files going all he way back to the 1930's.  These letters have content which is newsy and empty.  These letters served to keep the lines open.