William Scott Darling


Biography of William Scott Darling

William Scott Darling (May 28, 1898 - October 29, 1951) was a Canadian-born writer and a pioneer screenwriter and film director in the Hollywood motion picture industry.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Scott Darling embarked on a career as a writer, primarily doing humor stories for magazines. He married Eleanor Fried with whom he had a daughter Gretchen (1915–1994) who became a stage actress and playwright.

In 1914, Scott Darling was hired by the Kalem Company of New York City to work at their California studios writing the scripts for the adventure film serial The Hazards of Helen. So successful were the short films that the job would last more than two years with Darling writing 119 episodes of what became the longest serial ever made at 23.8 hours. When finished writing the exhausting serial he took a year off then in 1918 accepted an offer from fellow Ontarians Charles and Al Christie to write short comedy films for their Christie Film Company.

In 1921, Carl Laemmle at Universal Studios lured Scott Darling away from Christie Films with the promise of an opportunity to direct in addition to writing screenplays. While adaptations from other works was Darling's forte, between 1922 and 1928 at Universal he directed twenty-seven silent films and wrote forty screenplays.

With the advent of sound film, he easily adapted to creating dialogue and wrote scripts for early "talkies" such as Fox's Trent's Last Case (1929) based on the E. C. Bentley novel and directed by Howard Hawks. Six years after directing his last silent film, Scott Darling tried his hand at directing a sound film in the United Kingdom but was unable to devote the time necessary to attempt to develop the directorial skills required for the rapidly changing technology.

A prolific and diverse writer, during the 1930s and '40s, Scott Darling wrote more than seventy screenplays that were used for major films and popular B-movie thrillers produced by American studios in Hollywood as well as in London. Among these were Universal's The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943) that received critical acclaim and were considerable box office successes. Darling also wrote four scripts at Twentieth Century Fox for their Laurel & Hardy productions .

In 1950 and '51, five more of Darling's scripts were made into films. However, near the end of October, Scott Darling drowned in the Pacific Ocean while out swimming. His final script, after 119 Hazards of Helen episodes and 167 other screenplays, was posthumously released on film in 1952.

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