Former CEO of Philadelphia Art Museum dead

Oct. 14, 2005 at 11:02 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Robert Montgomery Scott, the Philadelphia aristocrat known for restoring the city's famed art museum to fiscal health, has died at 76.

Scott died of liver failure Thursday night after a long illness.

A man with deep roots in Philadelphia, Scott had a varied career as a lawyer, a diplomat in Britain and head of the Art Museum. He was also known locally as the son of Hope Montgomery Scott -- the model for Tracy Lord, the socialite played by Katharine Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story."

He described himself as "a somewhat overweight man with a red face and slightly English accent who seems to do a number of things."

His work for the Art Museum may have been Scott's greatest contribution to his city. He became the unpaid president in 1980 after years as a trustee, and two years later abandoned his law practice to become the salaried chief executive officer.

Scott took over an institution that was in trouble, with many of its galleries closed. During his 16-year tenure, attendance doubled and the endowment increased ten-fold.

Throughout his life, Scott was known for his charm, enthusiasm and lack of pretense. In England, he bicycled more than 50 miles for lunch with the Queen Mother, and in Philadelphia led bike rides through Fairmount Park.

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