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"The biggest trouble with her is the noise."
Indiana Jones regarding Willie[src]

Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott was an American singer and actress who found a measure of success in Shanghai in the early 1930s until she ran into the archaeologist Indiana Jones, who managed to drag her into a near-fatal encounter with the barbaric Thuggee cult led by Mola Ram.


Early life[]

Wilhelmina Scott[3] was born between 1910 and 1915.[2] She was raised by her family on a chicken farm in Missouri,[3] but from a young age her ambitions laied firmly in Hollywood[4] and had visions of fortune and glamour.[5] While her parents were poultry farmers, one of her grandfathers had been a stage magician.[4] While she cared for him a great deal and he was a popular entertainer among children, Willie's grandfather died penniless,[1] which steeled her resolve against living in such reduced circumstances.[5]

While her mother wanted her to be a nurse[6] despite having won a beauty contest, Willie tried to make a career as a singer, dancer and actress[3] under the professional name of "Willie",[1] but was unable to break into the American film industry during the Great Depression, and also struck out in Chicago and New York City.[3] Failing to make a splash in Hollywood, she followed rumors of greater opportunities in the Orient. She had heard that an independent, free-spirited and resourceful girl could make her fortune in the Far East. Reality proved harsher, for she ended up broke and stranded because she found herself unable to do some of the more unsavory things necessary to succeed.[5]

She landed roles in several Shanghai productions[3] where she achieved marginal success in the fledgling film industry. Her profile was enough to catch the eye of one of Lao Che's enforcers, who introduced the American singer to his boss.[5] Her efforts earned her the attention of local Chinese crime lord Lao Che, who hired her as a singer for his popular nightspot, Club Obi Wan.[3] allowing her to became known locally as the "famous American female vocalist".[1] Willie naively thought she could control the crime lord, who kept her in baubles and dresses from Paris, but leaving her little freedom.[5] Though she had a nice little house[1] with a garden in one of the more affluent area of Shanghai, she knew she had to tread carefully with Lao.[5]

Across her career, Scott claimed to have met Chicago gangster Al Capone and was a personal dinner guest of Chinese president Chiang Kai-Shek.[3]

The Temple of Doom[]

Escape from Shanghai[]

"I've been shot at, fallen out of a plane, nearly drowned, squashed by a snake, and I smell like an elephant!"
―Willie Scott[src]

Willie Scott performing Anything Goes.

In 1935, Scott had just completed her main role in singing a Mandarin version of Cole Porter's Anything Goes when she joined the table of her boss, Lao Che, who was in negotiation with the archaeologist Indiana Jones.[1] Upon seeing him, Willie noticed the scar on his chin and found it interesting, wondering how he got it.[3] Not realizing the seriousness of the situation, she made light of Jones' profession. When Kao Kan drew a revolver on Jones, Jones grabbed a long fork to take Scott hostage. After Jones was poisoned, Scott scrambled around looking for the misplaced diamond,[1] the biggest one she had ever seen in her life,[5] while Jones sought the antidote. Scott found the vial of antidote and slipped it into her dress. As gunfire erupted, Jones cut a gong loose, and rolled it toward a window, grabbing Scott, and escaped to the street.[1]


Willie loses the gun.

In Short Round's car, Scott proved to be unhelpful by accidentally losing Jones' revolver, and was dismayed when Jones reached into her dress to retrieve the antidote. As they reached Nang Tao Airport, Art Weber recognized her as he helped them board a plane to escape. After the plane took off, she had some angry words for Jones, claiming that he couldn't take his eyes off her. She changed out of her evening dress into Jones' more functional dinner jacket and pants, after he changed into his adventuring gear.[1]

Towards the Thuggees[]

Waking up on the flight, Scott discovered that the pilot and co-pilot had abandoned the plane. She woke up Jones, who realized that the plane was going to crash without fuel. Grabbing onto Jones, she and Short Round leaped out of the plane, her screaming all the way down, and used an inflatable raft to safely land and skid down the mountains into a river in India.[1] They ended up in Mayapore village, which had been devastated by the theft of their sacred stone (in reality one of the Sankara Stones) and their children by the nearby Thuggees at Pankot Palace. Indy agreed to help and they set off on elephants towards the palace; during the journey, Willie tried to improve the smell of her elephant by spraying it with her perfume, only for it to knock her into a pond which caused her to go into hysterics. Her dislike for wild animals was only increased that night when several exhibits of jungle life scared her half to death and her elephant kept nuzzling her with its trunk.


Willie served Primate Parfait

Reaching Pankot Palace, she was relieved for the nicer amenities, but was disgusted by menu of exotic foods at the Guardian of Tradition Dinner, like Primate Parfait. Jones was later able to provide her with an apple. A fledgling romance between Scott and Jones stalled abruptly when Willie nearly became the victim of human sacrifice, perpetrated by the underground Thuggee cult and its maniacal leader, Mola Ram.[1]

Just as Scott was being lowered into a pit of molten lava, Indy and Short Round came to her rescue. With the aid of Captain Blumburtt and his Eleventh Poona Rifles, Pankot Palace was freed from the grip of Ram and the Thuggee.[3]

Later adventures[]

Willie autograph

An autographed photo of Willie for Indiana Jones.

At some point during their time together, Willie was kidnapped in Hong Kong with Jones taking up the chase on a motorcycle. She and Short Round were also trapped in a burning room but the pair escaped by pulling down the flaming curtains and jumping through the window.[7]

She did eventually make her way back Stateside[5] alongside Indy and Short Round[3] and was more than happy for the break in adventure.[5]

Indiana Jones kept a flyer of Willie Scott's performance at Club Obi Wan and an autographed picture of her in his journal.[8] By 1938, Jones had crossed Scott's telephone number off a notepad.[9] However, as of 1957 a framed photograph of her sat in his living room.[10]

Personality and traits[]

Willie Scott had a fondness for diamonds and a fear of insects.[1] She could speak some Chinese in addition to her native English.[7] Indiana Jones recorded a list of pros and cons about Scott in his journal - with "Speaks her mind" as both a pro and a con.[11]


Indiana Jones and Willie Scott exchange words.

Traveling in India, Scott felt out of her element, being forced to rough it, and shrieking or fainting every time something frightened her. Disliking the smell of her elephant, she dumped her entire bottle of perfume on the head of her mount - though her elephant ended up dumping her in a puddle. She had an impressive screaming ability, as noted by Indiana Jones, as she was able to scream without stopping as they plunged out of a plane and when encountering several jungle animals.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

Willie Scott was portrayed by Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.[1] Capshaw later married director Steven Spielberg in 1991, seven years after the film's 1984 release.

During the early development of Temple of Doom, more than a thousand actresses auditioned for Scott's role, including the then-unknown Sharon Stone.[12]

Like Indiana Jones and Short Round, the character is named after a pet dog: Willie was the dog of Spielberg. Scott's full forename as Wilhelmina is both a nod to the Wilhelm scream, the stock sound effect used in all five theatrical Indiana Jones pictures, and the character's piercing cries.

Willie Scott appears in the Indiana Jones segment of George Lucas' Super Live Adventure which combined elements from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom. She meets Indiana Jones during her performance of "Anything Goes" but is introduced to the archaeologist at Club Obi Wan by René Emile Belloq. After the brawl breaks out, the singer joins Jones and the show's protagonist Hiromi and the three journey to the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. There, they are caught in a spike trap similar to the chamber from Temple of Doom. Though Jones rescues them, Scott inadvertently reactivates it again with Jones inside and this time Hiromi makes the save. Belloq arrives but is killed when he opens the Ark and Hiromi continues on with her adventure.[13]


Prop from the fourth film.

In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a prop photograph was created showing Scott in her dress from Paris that can been seen in the background of the fifth chapter on the DVD at Indiana Jones' house while he discusses Francisco de Orellana with Mutt Williams. The picture sits by a lamp next to the window.[10]

During the development of the fourth film, Jeb Stuart's draft, then Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars, included Willie Scott as a guest at Indiana Jones' wedding for his marriage to Elaine McGregor alongside Marion Ravenwood, Sallah and Henry Jones, Sr.[14] Frank Darabont's later version, Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, saw Jones and Ravenwood briefly discuss Willie Scott and the archaeologist informs her that Scott relocated to Hollywood where she married "some bigshot director".[15]

There were plans by LJN in the 1980s for an action figure of Willie Scott, but the toyline was cancelled before one could be made, although a prototype was designed.[16] An action figure of Willie was later made by Hasbro in 2008 for their action figure toyline and a LEGO minifigure of Scott was also made for the sets based on Temple of Doom.


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]