His finest moment came as General George S Patton, the flamboyant and complex US military leader in the 1970 film Patton, based during the Second World War. It opens with a memorable sequence showing Patton addressing his men before battle. "I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country," he says, in a toughly worded paean to American fighting spirit. "He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country," he adds.
After being nominated for an Oscar for that role, Mr Scott said he would not accept it if it were awarded to him. The Oscars were "offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt'', he said, and on the awards night, he was at home in New York watching an ice hockey game.
Mr Scott will also be remembered for playing General "Buck'' Turgidson in Dr Strangelove and for a lead role in the 1975 movie Hindenburg.
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