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Oz Scott

Director and producer Oz Scott was born Osborne E. Scott, Jr. September 16, 1949 in Fortman Row, Virginia. His father was Army chaplain Brigadier General Osborne Scott, Sr. and his mother, Jean Sampson Scott, was the president of the Schomburg chapter of the African American Genealogical Society. Raised in Japan and Germany until he was twelve years old, Scott attended Baumholder School and Bad Kreuznach American School. In Mt. Vernon, New York he attended Graham School, Pemberton School and graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1967. Starting at Friends World College, he transferred to Marlboro College where he started doing theatre before earning his B.A. from Antioch College in 1972. Already working with Back Alley Theatre and Arena Stage, he received an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1974.

Scott began his theatrical career at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage where he managed The Living Stage. In New York, Scott staged and took to Broadway, for colored girls who considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange in 1977. He also directed Sonia Sanchez’ Sister Sonji; Richard Wesley’s The Past is the Past; and Fences by August Wilson. A director with writing skills, Scott started his television work in 1976 with The Jeffersons and Archie Bunker’s Place. In the 1980’s Scott directed episodes of Hill Street Blues, Gimme a Break! Scarecrow and Mrs. King, The Cosby Show, 227, L.A. Law, and Dirty Dancing. In the 1990s it was Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Picket Fences, Party of Five, Chicago Hope, JAG, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Family Law, Time Cop, Get Real and Any Day Now. Since 2000 he has directed Soul Food, Strong Medicine, CSI, Ed, Lizzie McGuire, The Guardian, dr. vegas and was both director and supervising producer to CBS TV’s The District. Scott’s movie credits include: The Cheetah Girls (2003), Play’d A Hip-Hop Story (2002), and Crash Course (1988).

Scott has received the NAACP Image Award, the Drama Desk Award, and a Village Voice Obie Award for off Broadway, Genesis Award and the Nancy Susan Reynolds Award. He serves on the board of directors of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the Deans Council for California State University at Northridge’s College of Arts, Media and Communication. Scott directed the video that introduced Rev. Jesse L. Jackson to the 1988 Democratic National Convention and the Nelson Mandela Rally for Freedom at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1990.

Accession Number

A2005.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2005 |and| 10/2/2005

Last Name

Scott

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Mount Vernon High School

Graham Elementary School

Pemberton School

Bad Kreuznach American High School

Baumholder Middle School/High School

Antioch College

New York University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Oz

Birth City, State, Country

Hampton

HM ID

SCO04

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring, Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Go With The Flow.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/16/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken, Salmon

Short Description

Stage director, television director, and television producer Oz Scott (1949 - ) brought, "For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf," by Ntozake Shange to Broadway. Scott has also produced or directed episodes of The Jeffersons, Archie Bunker’s Place, The Cosby Show and 227, among many more.

Employment

Arena Stage

Hollywood - various networks and studios

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Oz Scott's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Oz Scott lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Oz Scott describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Oz Scott describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Oz Scott recalls his maternal grandfather and his mother's early life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Oz Scott describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Oz Scott recalls his father's service in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Oz Scott recalls his father's experience with race relations in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Oz Scott describes his father's ministry and how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Oz Scott describes growing up with his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Oz Scott recalls his father as a professor at City College of New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Oz Scott recalls his parents' association with Leonard Jeffries

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Oz Scott describes his brother, Michael Scott

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Oz Scott describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Oz Scott retells a story about Richard Pryor's experience in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Oz Scott describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Oz Scott recalls his travels as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Oz Scott recalls his paternal grandfather moving to Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Oz Scott describes himself as a young boy, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Oz Scott describes himself as a young boy, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Oz Scott recalls his mother's treatment with cortisone in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Oz Scott reflects upon his mother's influence on his artistic pursuits

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Oz Scott recalls his interest in television and its influence on his work

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Oz Scott recalls the schools that he attended

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Oz Scott recalls the plays that he watched as a schoolboy

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Oz Scott recalls his interest in reading

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Oz Scott describes his father's religious affiliation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Oz Scott recalls his extracurricular activities at Mount Vernon High School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Oz Scott describes the race demographics of Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Oz Scott recalls his high school's athletics

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Oz Scott recalls his decision to attend Friends World Institute in Long Island

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Oz Scott describes his experience in Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Oz Scott recalls attending Marlboro College and Antioch College

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Oz Scott recalls his experience working at Arena Stage

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Oz Scott recalls his science studies at Antioch College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Oz Scott's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Oz Scott describes his experience as a taxi driver in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Oz Scott describes his decision to join New York University's directing program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Oz Scott describes his first year at New York University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Oz Scott describes recalls meeting HistoryMaker Ntozake Shange

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Oz Scott describes how he brought 'For Colored Girls' to stage

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Oz Scott recalls meeting his future wife

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Oz Scott remembers realizing his calling as a director

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Oz Scott recalls directing a documentary film in New Orleans

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Oz Scott recalls his first opportunity to direct a Hollywood film

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Oz Scott recalls working on the script for 'Bustin Loose'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Oz Scott describes his experience directing 'Bustin' Loose'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Oz Scott recalls the cast of 'Bustin' Loose'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Oz Scott describes filming the Ku Klux Klan scene in 'Bustin' Loose,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Oz Scott describes filming the Ku Klux Klan scene in 'Bustin' Loose,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Oz Scott recalls Vincent Price's acting in 'Bustin' Loose'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Oz Scott reflects upon Richard Pryor's career as an actor

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Oz Scott recalls marrying his wife and starting a family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Oz Scott recalls his start in directing television shows

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Oz Scott describes the pace of directing television shows

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Oz Scott recalls the TV series that he directed before 'The Cosby Show'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Oz Scott reflects upon the importance of ratings in Hollywood

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Oz Scott recalls resuming his career as a director after a break

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Oz Scott recalls directing the show 'Picket Fences'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Oz Scott recalls his involvement in theatre

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Oz Scott recalls his involvement in the 1988 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Oz Scott recalls directing Nelson Mandela's rally in Los Angeles in 1990

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Oz Scott recalls his community affairs involvement in Los Angeles

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Oz Scott recalls directing 'The Old Settler' in Russia

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Oz Scott reflects upon his work as a director, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Oz Scott reflects upon his work as a director, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Oz Scott recalls his experience directing a motion-based platform ride

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Oz Scott reflects upon his goals in television, film and theatre

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Oz Scott reflects upon his career

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Oz Scott reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Oz Scott describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Oz Scott reflects upon making artistic endeavors profitable

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Oz Scott talks about his family, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Oz Scott talks about his family, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Oz Scott describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Oz Scott narrates his photographs

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Oz Scott describes recalls meeting HistoryMaker Ntozake Shange
Oz Scott describes filming the Ku Klux Klan scene in 'Bustin' Loose,' pt. 2
Transcript
I survived one year doing it, and the second year [at New York University (NYU), New York, New York] I went to my film teachers, Beta Baca [ph.] who was my camera teacher and Ian Maitland who was editing and I said, "Guys, I gotta make a choice," because they said, "Are you going to stay in film or you going to stay in theatre?" Everybody, both departments were wide open to me and both of them said, "Oz [HistoryMaker Oz Scott], get a good editor and get a good DP [director of photography]. They can help you learn the camera. They can help you learn the techniques that you need." Beta said, "Come and take my color emulsion class, I do it five weeks, five, five seminars. After that, he said, you can learn the camera within a year or two. It's going to take you a lifetime to learn the actors so it's best to start now." And so I stayed in theatre. I mean, that and the fact that theatre program, to get a master's [degree], was a two-year program and film was a three-year program, I figured, two years, and I thought it was very good because I, it was learning the actors, it was working with actors which I still think is a very strong element to my directing. So, so the second year I was doing a lot of stage managing for Joe Papp [Joseph Papp]. I did a play by Miguel Pinero called 'The Sun Always Shines for the Cool' which becomes a whole another story because I got a, I was hanging out with Ifa [Ifa Bayeza], guess what her name, at this, now her name is Ifa Bayeza, who's [HistoryMaker] Ntozake Shange's sister and Ifa introduced me to Ntozake and Ntozake, and Ifa said, "Why don't you take, why don't you give Oz your poems and let him make 'em into a play." And so Ntozake gave me her poems and we set about making them into a play. I said, "Zake, I will make them into a play but you have to get me a venue. Get me a venue, I'll give you a award-winning play." I was very cocky back then and she came back to me the next day and she had gotten a bar on the Lower East Side [New York, New York], a Puerto Rican bar on the Lower East Side without a door between the back room and the bar where they served the fried chicken and they, it was like a block up from where Slugs' [Slugs' Saloon] had been on--in Alphabet City [New York, New York] and we did--Del Monte's was the bar, and we proceeded to do 'For Colored Girls' ['For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When The Rainbow Is Enuf,' Ntozake Shange]. That December, we had two, she had gotten two Saturday nights--.$$Now, now what year is this?$$This is 1975.$$Okay.$$I graduated NYU in 1974 and, I mean, so we ended up doing the first part of 'For Colored Girls' in 1975, December.$Cut to the bus. Again, this is all made up. I don't have a clue what, what's going on. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm just saying, okay, let's try this. The words Richard [Richard Pryor] is coming up with on the spot. I'm just--again, this is sort of like 'Dreamland' back in New Orleans [Louisiana]. I'm coming up with, "Here's the situation, I don't know what you're going to say, but here's the situation." So, it turns out, I had the blind kid sitting in the front seat and Richard pulls the, has the Klansman come on with the hood and the Klansman comes on, Richard comes on behind, and I said, "Okay, oh, I got it, I got it, I got it." I told the blind kid to reach up and grab the sheet off the Klansman and pull it off, de- defrock him; and I said, "Richard," and then I said, "all the kids, you're all blind." And so, so Richard started, he said, "Okay," he, he's like, they start, and he said, "They're blind, they're all blind, they're all blind," and he gets the Klansman off, you know, off the bus and at this point I, I was lost. I said, "Richard, I don't have a clue what you're going to say now. Say something to him, but we've got the scene. I can cut the scene this way," and Richard right there, on the spot, without, was not the night before, we just, I just created that scene right there on the spot. He said, "We're on our way to the Ray Charles Institute for the Blind to get that miracle operation. They've been running it on the Oral Roberts show, and I know they run it in your area," (laughter) and I had this old stuntman as playing the Klansman and he said, "Okay, get back on the bus, get on the bus; we'll give you a push." And Richard looks at him, and this is Richard, and he just says, "You're a great American and great human being. Thank you," and he gets on the bus. The place falls out. The crew is just rolling. I mean it's just a brilliant, brilliant moment and I said to Richard, "Do it again." Richard goes off. "Oh, Mr. Director wants me to do it again. Oh, I'm going to do it again because Mr. Director wants me to do it." And he was furious because he had got it. He knew he had nailed it. So he gets on there, he does the same line, "You're a great American and a great human being," and then he grabs the Klansman by the head and he pulls him to him and gives him a mouth-to-mouth kiss; and the poor Klansman you could just see him, the actor went (makes sound) (laughter) and Richard gets on the bus and the place just, I mean, it erupted with applause. It was just, and Richard turned to me as he walked off the bus and said, "So you knew, fuck you," and he walked to his (gesture)--what I knew was he had to top himself. I didn't know how he was going to top what he had done, which was already brilliant, but he, he did it, he topped it. There are scenes in the film where I have told Richard, when he's walking off the back of the bus, I said, "Oh, Richard, I got this idea, this is great. When you go to get the, I want you to go off the back of the bus," and I said, "somebody give me a shovel, give me a shovel." So I started digging a ditch and I poured water in it and mud and I said, "Richard, when you jump down, you're going to go down into this water and you're going to fall and you're going to flop around and you're going to be all--." "Oh, and you think that's funny. The, I'm going to fall in the mud. You think that's funny." Richard walked, he's walking down the bus talking about, "F him, F you, F you," (makes sounds) and he was talking about me. I kept it in the film. I'm like, and he goes off and he does the whole flopping around and he's great. He's just, you know, so, 'Bustin' Loose' we did that. Richard burnt himself up. Scenes were shot after they were in the film; and that's 'Bustin' Loose.'