Scott Scurlock: How Did Hollywood Die?

It was back in the 1990s when a prolific bank robber went on an unprecedented crime spree throughout Seattle, Washington, leaving behind nothing but challenges and trauma in his wake. The truth is, as explored in Netflix’s ‘How to Rob a Bank,’ he was clever, successful, threatening, as well as elusive in his endeavors, only to then earn the moniker of Hollywood for his disguise. In fact, it took officials over five years to positively ascertain that the man behind the extensive makeup and prosthetics with a 9mm accomplice was actually Olympia resident Scott Scurlock.

Scott Scurlock Developed Criminal Tendencies at an Early Age

Although born on March 5, 1955, in Fairfax County, Virginia, to a teacher of kids with learning disabilities and a minister, William Scott Scurlock was always determined to go against his family’s reputation. He thus learned to pick locks as a kid before going as far as to steal a car from a daycare center alongside a friend and take it for a joyride to the beach at age 15. He was punished, yet he didn’t grow out of the rebellious phase; instead, he grew quieter and focused on undertaking new adventures — his sister, Suzanne Scurlock, once even referred to him as “an adrenaline junkie” who “loved doing daring things.”

Therefore, by the time 1974 rolled around, Scott had relocated to Hawaii to reunite with a childhood friend named Kevin Meyers and ultimately live with him on a 5-acre tomato farm. The duo actually worked at a company called Hawaii Plant Life & Privacy Fences four days a week to make ends meet, just to come across a small marijuana farm while hiking nearby in 1976. That’s when the former realized he could make easy money by getting involved in the drug trade, driving him to grow his own weed until their landlord got wind and kicked him out a short while later.

Little did anyone know Scott would then not only find his way to Olympia, Washington, but also enroll at the non-traditional Evergreen State College in the hopes of becoming a doctor. He was honestly so intelligent he was well on his way to graduating as an honors premed student, that is, until he was caught cooking pure methamphetamine in the school chemistry lab. He was consequently expelled, yet not much changed in his path since he was already selling his product — the only thing to vary was the extent of his business as he expanded to a much larger scale.

Scott Scurlock Evolved From a Drug Dealer to a Bank Robber

While it’s true that Scott was able to buy 20 acres of secluded land with a small home near Olympia from meth dealing money within a short period, it was what he did later that was more remarkable. He built a three-story treehouse on the estate with the help of friends — including a massive fireplace, an outdoor bathtub, plus a long zip-line emergency escape — before evolving into a bank robber. It was actually when his leading distributor was murdered during a robbery in 1989 that he realized the true dangers of his profession and immediately decided to make the switch.

According to reports, Scott had already been fascinated with the idea of bank robberies since not only was his favorite movie ‘Point Break,’ but he also wasn’t keen on the idea of capitalism. He hence recruited a trusted old college friend named Mark Biggins and hit his first target on June 25, 1992, for a total of $19,971, yet it didn’t go well at all as they made several mistakes. However, instead of being deterred by the chaos they caused like the latter, the former just got inspired to do better without leaving a trace behind, resulting in him developing strategies and getting others involved.

Scott actually drafted his long-term friend Kevin’s brother, sculptor Steve Meyers, as his primary accomplice because he knew the latter’s charm as well as eye for detail would make him great at surveilling potential targets, being a lookout, plus handling money laundering. The fact he was even able to help out in the theatrical disguise was a massive plus, especially as that resulted in the FBI using the pseudonym Hollywood — as a group, they were The Hollywood Bandits. But alas, the fact of the matter is, since the former alone went inside the banks to rob them, usually while brandishing a 9 mm handgun, officials had no idea he had a whole team until much later.

In fact, apart from Steve, Scott had someone who taught him all the right terminologies so as to be taken seriously and gave him inside information; plus, he sometimes had other friends serve as lookouts at different exits. The only clear pattern he had was that he robbed most banks more than once in a particular time window and in such a way that it became evident he usually needed $21,000 per month. In the end, he orchestrated a total of 19 confirmed robberies from 1992 to 1996 to secure a total of over $2.3 million — his last one was on Thanksgiving eve of 1996, November 27, 1996.

Scott Scurlock Died by Suicide

By the time late 1996 had rolled around, Scott’s criminality had reportedly started to make him so anxious and stressed he spent most of his time either drinking or preferring to remain isolated. He once even broke down in front of his elder sister, claiming he didn’t recognize his face in the mirror anymore — the dark path he’d followed was apparently consuming him from the inside out. That’s why whenever the topic of what he’d do if caught arose when he was amongst friends, he insisted it was ultimately every man for himself, so he’d prefer dying rather than ever going to prison.

Therefore, knowing there wasn’t much left in him anymore, Scott decided to go all out for a final act — this included hitting five establishments in a single day and help from Mark Biggins once again. Though upon learning the FBI had managed to convince every Seattle bank to put two electronic trackers in their vault money, he scaled back the plans to just one big institution. The target was to secure as much of the $3–$4 million kept at Seafirst Bank as possible on that fateful Thanksgiving eve, but officials were well prepared this time around and caught up with their getaway vehicle.

Scott and Mark did furiously search through the bills to remove the two trackers from the $1.8 million they’d managed to grab while Steve was behind the wheel, yet they weren’t quick enough. Even after Hollywood and the driver switched places, their luck didn’t improve in terms of locating/discarding the second one, which quickly led law enforcement right to them. What ensued was a significant shootout during which the former managed to escape, only to be discovered in a stranger’s backyard camper in a nearby neighborhood the very next day.

Scott shot himself with his weapon the minute the police closed in, resulting in them firing another 76 rounds inside the camper as they believed he was probably aiming at them. In other words, the 41-year-old did exactly what he said he’d do and died by suicide on November 28, 1996 — it was only then that his truth came to light in front of the authorities, his family, as well as the world. As for accomplices Steven and Mark, once they’d recovered from their shootout injuries, they were formally indicted, convicted, plus sentenced to 21 years in state prison each.

Read More: Mark Biggins: Hollywood’s Accomplice Keeps a Low Profile Today