Kathy Scruggs: Biography

kathy scruggs biography
Full Name: Kathleen Bentley Scruggs Education: Queens College
Birth Place: Atlanta, Georgia Parents: Nancy Bentley Scruggs, Lewis Scruggs Sr.
Date of Birth: September 26, 1958 Siblings: Lewis Scruggs Jr.
Date of Death: September 2, 2001 Occupation: Journalist

Kathy Scruggs Wiki

Kathy Scruggs is a character in the Clint Eastwood directed movie Richard Jewell.

It is based on a Vanity Fair article titled “American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell.”

Olivia Wilde portrays Scruggs, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who broke the news that the FBI was focusing on Jewell, a security guard who saved countless lives, only to become a suspect, after the deadly Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

The film does a good job of capturing the chaos of the AJC newsroom, and it does an excellent job of recreating Centennial Olympic Park in the year 1996.

After Scruggs reporting, Jewell was vilified only to later be cleared of all charges. Kathy Scruggs is thus portrayed in very bad light.

Kathy Scruggs Family and Early Life

Kathleen Bentley Scruggs was born on September 26, 1958, in Athens, Georgia, to Lewis Scruggs Sr. and Kathleen Bentley Scruggs.

Her father was a successful businessman, who co-founded Athens Insurers Inc. in 1953.

He was also a journalist, having studied at the University of Georgia. Scruggs Sr. died in 2009, eight years after Kathy.

Kathy’s mother was a philanthropist in Athens. She died in 2015.

Kathy spent her childhood with her younger brother Lewis.

From early on, she chose to follow her father’s career path, by taking up a Bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Kathy Scruggs Relationship

Until she was thrust into the limelight, Kathy was still a relatively unknown journalist.

As a result, very little of her personal relationships were public knowledge. It is however widely believed that she was single at the time of her death.

Kathy Scruggs Reporter

Kathy received her journalism degree from Queens University (then Queens College) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

She then worked at two small newspapers, before landing a role at Atlanta-Journal Constitution (AJC), the largest newspaper in Georgia by circulation.

She mostly worked on crime stories, cultivating a network of sources within the police department. She is said to have often arrived at crime scenes even before the police.

Due to this, she was rightly placed to cover the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

Kathy Scruggs, Richard Jewell Reporting

If not for Richard Jewell, the bombing at the Centennial Olympic Park in July 1996 may have killed hundreds of people.

As part of his duties as a security guard during the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, he was stationed at the public park.

A rucksack containing three pipe bombs was found by Jewell while walking through the park. He called the police and assisted them in evacuating the area before the bomb squad arrived.

One person was killed and over a hundred injured when the bomb went off 13 minutes after the area had been evacuated.

Later, a heart attack claimed the life of a cameraman who had been covering the tragedy.

At first, Jewell was heralded as a hero for his role in thwarting the attack and saving many lives. But then, just 3 days later, AJC printed an article by Kathy Scruggs and Ron Martz, revealing that the FBI was looking into Jewell as a potential suspect.

Based on the “lone bomber” profile, the FBI searched his home and possessions and placed him under surveillance, according to Scruggs and Martz’s investigation.

Jewell’s personal and professional life suffered as a result of the media trial that ensued.

However, he was exonerated of all charges and hailed as a hero once more. The real Olympic Park bomber was identified as Eric Rudolph.

After his acquittal, Jewell filed libel suits against all the media outlets involved, including the AJC.

Kathy Scruggs Death

The burden of defending her reporting amid the Jewell controversy exacerbated the journalist’s various diseases. Scruggs had taken a medical leave of absence from the publication the year before she died.

She suffered from chronic back pain as a result of an injury she sustained on the job. Her backache was treated with painkillers, but she eventually developed other problems as a result of their use.
On the list of conditions were Crohn’s disease, as well as stress and depression.

Family members and close acquaintances said that the stress of the court case had a negative impact on her already precarious state of well-being.

It came down to “her heart giving way,” as her brother put it.

Days before her 43rd birthday, on September 2, 2001, Scruggs was found dead in her Woodstock home. Her cause of death was acute morphine toxicity, or in simpler words ‘drug overdose’.

It was never determined if the overdose was accidental or intentional.

Richard Jewell Wiki

After being smeared by the media, Jewell sued several media outlets. Many of them settled with him out of court, but the AJC, at Scrugg’s insistence, refused to settle.

He died on August 29, 2007.


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