[Guest blogger and film writer Laura Wagner has written this informative account of Scott Brady’s life. Scott was an actor, born Gerard Tierney, and was Lawrence Tierney’s brother. Thanks Laura for letting us publish this!]
Happy birthday to SCOTT BRADY (1924-85), an actor best known for his film roles in HE WALKED BY NIGHT and JOHNNY GUITARand for portraying TV’s SHOTGUN SLADE. He was born Gerard Kenneth Tierney, in Brooklyn, New York, the middle son of the chief of the New York City Aqueduct Police Force. His brothers, Lawrence (born 1919) and Edward (born 1928), both became actors. Brady excelled in sports in high school, especially football and basketball, but he dropped out his senior year to join the Navy during World War II. He eventually became a Navy Seaman First Class, served as a naval aviation mechanic, and was also the light heavyweight boxing champion during his time served. Honorably discharged in ’45, Brady, encouraged by the success his brother Lawrence Tierney (DILLINGER) was having in movies, thought this might be the path that he should take as well. To make ends meet, he worked as a laborer by day and drove a cab at night. Spotted by producer Hal B. Wallis in a café, the young and handsome Brady was invited to do a screen test. His inexperience showed, however, and the test was a bust. Undaunted, Brady enrolled at the Bliss-Hayden School of Theatre in Beverly Hills and started to do local theatre. His brother Larry’s agent took an interest in Brady and what resulted was a contract with Eagle-Lion. It was then that “Jerry Tierney” became “Scott Brady,” taking the new name from a favorite boxing story. Although his relationship with his older brother became strained, Brady always credited him with helping him get started and teaching him the ropes. Eagle-Lion launched Brady right away in leads, capitalizing on his Irish good looks and tall (6’2”), no-nonsense, virile presence. While he did well in these initial offerings – CANON CITY, IN THIS CORNER, HE WALKED BY NIGHT, PORT OF NEW YORK – Eagle-Lion wasn’t a major studio and certainly couldn’t properly elevate up-and-comer Brady to major stardom. Things changed a bit when Universal-International bought his contract. While this was a higher-profile shot for him, U-I’s film offerings were B-level actioners that saw Brady either in leads or support. In 1951, he signed a concurrent contract with 20th Century-Fox, a studio better suited to show off his smooth leading man skills, in higher-budgeted films. During these years Brady established himself as an all-purpose actor, proficient in any genre, and able to switch effortlessly to either side of the law. Much like his brother Larry, Brady had a mixture of charm, sexiness and toughness that should have made him a much bigger star. Unfortunately, although he got great coverage in the fan magazines of the day, Brady never reached the top echelon of the movie business. It didn’t stopped him, however, from turning in first-class acting jobs; he delivered, in even the smallest of movies, and remained a true professional. A serious “might-have-been” was losing the part of “Turk” in COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA (1952) to Richard Jaeckel because of scheduling difficulties. He left U-I in ’53 and freelanced, working at all the studios, big and small. Highlights during this period were JOHNNY GUITAR (as Dancin’ Kid) and THE MAVERICK QUEEN. Brady branched out, acting on stage in THE MOON IS BLUE, PICNIC, DETECTIVE STORY, and THE BEST MAN, and on Broadway in the musical version of DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1959), starring Andy Griffith and Dolores Gray, although he admitted that stage work was not his forte. The Western genre was a natural for Brady and in 1959 he starred in his own television series, SHOTGUN SLADE, which ran until 1961. His film roles lessened and headed more and more toward the supporting category, but steady work was found on television and would continue full steam ahead for the rest of his career. Ladies’ man Brady met Mary Lizabeth (Lisa) Tirony, a ticket agent for American Airlines and a part-time hair model, in 1960. They married in 1967 and had two sons, Tim (born 1968) and Terence (1970). Brady remained a very busy actor, especially on TV in the 1970s, and was seen as a semi-regular on POLICE STORY (1973-76) and ALL IN THE FAMILY (1976). The 1980s were personally difficult for him. Diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, Brady needed an oxygen tank when he was working – yet, he forged courageously on, acting in a steady stream of movies and television guest spots. His last film was 1984’s GREMLINS. That film’s director, Joe Dante, told me, “The first time I met Scott Brady was when he came in for the sheriff role in GREMLINS. After my producer Mike Finnell and I bombarded him with questions about his old movies going back to the Eagle-Lion days, he told us, ‘I like you guys! I don’t care what the part is, I’ll do it!’ Scott was wonderful to work with, despite the fact he was already suffering from the [illness] that killed him a year or so later. At one point we were shooting the sheriff’s office in a high school that had a lot of steps in front, and an a.d. came to me and said, ‘Your actor’s having a heart attack on the stairs.’ It wasn’t a heart attack, but Scott had run out of breath halfway up. Like most old pros, he had never mentioned to anyone he was having difficulty breathing; you can hear it in the performance, actually. When Scott came to the cast and crew screening, he was already on a respirator, but he was the same positive, effusive guy. We talked occasionally on the phone for awhile, but it was obvious we weren’t going to work together again. Still, I treasured the moments I spent with people like Scott … and was honored to have him in my movie.” Brady passed away the following year, in Los Angeles; he was 60.
CANON CITY (1948), IN THIS CORNER (1948), HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948), THE GAL WHO TOOK THE WEST (1949), PORT OF NEW YORK (1949), UNDERTOW (1949), I WAS A SHOPLIFTER (1950), UNDERCOVER GIRL (1950), KANSAS RAIDERS (1950), THE MODEL AND THE MARRIAGE BROKER (1951), BRONCO BUSTER (1952), UNTAMED FRONTIER (1952), YANKEE BUCCANEER (1952), MONTANA BELLE (1952; filmed in 1948), BLOODHOUNDS OF BROADWAY (1952), A PERILOUS JOURNEY (1953), EL ALAMÉIN (1953), WHITE FIRE (1953), JOHNNY GUITAR (1954), THE LAW VS. BILLY THE KID (1954), THEY WERE SO YOUNG (1954), GENTLEMEN MARRY BRUNETTES (1955), THE VANISHING AMERICAN (1955), MOHAWK (1956), TERROR AT MIDNIGHT (1956), THE MAVERICK QUEEN (1956), THE STORM RIDER (1957), THE RESTLESS BREED (1957), AMBUSH AT CIMARRON PASS (1958), BLOOD ARROW (1958), BATTLE FLAME (1959), OPERATION BIKINI (1963), STAGE TO THUNDER ROCK (1964), JOHN GOLDFARB, PLEASE COME HOME! (1965), BLACK SPURS (1965), DESTINATION INNER SPACE (1966), CASTLE OF EVIL (1966), RED TOMAHAWK (1967), JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF TIME (1967), FORT UTAH (1967), THE ROAD HUSTLERS (1968), PORTRAIT OF VIOLENCE (1968), ARIZONA BUSHWHACKERS (1968), THEY RAN FOR THEIR LIVES (1968), THE MIGHTY GORGA (1969), NIGHTMARE IN WAX (1969), SATAN’S SADISTS (1969), THE ICE HOUSE (1969), THE CYCLE SAVAGES (1969, UNCREDITED), MAROONED (1969), D.A.: MURDER ONE (1969, TVM), HELL’S BLOODY DEVILS (1970), FIVE BLOODY GRAVES (1970), DOCTORS’ WIVES (1971), $ (1971), THE LEO CHRONICLES (1972), THE LONERS (1972), CAIN’S CUTTHROATS (1972), THE NIGHT STRANGLER (1973, TVM), BONNIE’S KIDS (1973), WICKED, WICKED (1973), ROLL, FREDDY, ROLL! (1974, TVM), THE KANSAS CITY MASSACRE (1975, TVM), LAW AND ORDER (1976, TVM), GOOD PENNY (1977, TVM), WHEN EVERY DAY WAS THE FOURTH OF JULY (1978, TVM), TO KILL A COP (1978, TVM), WHEELS (1978, TV miniseries), SUDDENLY, LOVE (1978, TVM), WOMEN IN WHITE (1979, TVM), THE CHINA SYNDROME (1979), THE LAST RIDE OF THE DALTON GANG (1979, TVM), POWER (1980, TVM), STRANGE BEHAVIOR (1981), THE WINDS OF WAR (1983, TV miniseries), THIS GIRL FOR HIRE (1983, TVM), GREMLINS (1984).