Agnes Moorehead

  1. Edith Evanson, Reunion In France, 1942.    Change of  Genevieve, a zero role in a zero Joan Crawford confection – about her Paris socialite rescuing a US bomber pilot. John Wayne, slumming at MGM.  They’ll always have Paris.
  2. Gladys Coopr, The Song of Bernadette, 1943.     A year earlier, producer William Perlberg had a Moorehead meet for Sister Marie Therese Vazous in the story of 
 the  French girl who had a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858.   
  3. Edward G Robinson,  The Stranger, 1945.       For his second Hollywood production,   Sam Spiegel – SP Eagle, at the time –  proudly won Orson Welles  as star and director.  Orson then oddly dropped his main idea  – for his Mercury Theatre player to be the detective hunting Welles’ WWII criminal…  like a spinster lady hunting Nazis. (Very Hitchcockian).    The reason: Robinson was part of Spiegel’s eternal gin rummy games.  This is the only film directed by Welles to show a profit during its original release.  Didn’t help him any.
  4. Jeannette Nolan, Macbeth, 1947.   Fourth choice this time, after Vivien Leigh Tallulah Bankhead and Mercedes McCambridge. And that hurt, after all she was part of Welles’ Mercury stage and radio group. But Mrs John McIntire made her screen debut  as Lady M opposite Orson Welles at age 26.  Didnl’ help her any.
  5. Mercedes McCambridge, Giant, 1955.
  6. Lilian Gish, Night Of The Hunter,  1954.    For his one and only – and classic – directing gig, Charles Laughton was spoilt  for choice  for guardian angel Rachel Cooper.  He saw Gish, Moorehead, Ethel Barrymore, Jane Darwell, Louise Fazenda,  Helen Hayes and, of course, his wife, Elsa Lanchester.
  7. Bette Davis, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? 1962. Sisters, sisters, such horrendous sisters…  Bette Davis is Baby Jane Hudson, ex-child star, still jealous of her sister Joan Crawford’s better, well longer, career and   deciding to do something diabolical about it.  In case the two bitter enemies couldn’t face working together (Davis teven ried to grab the rights and produce the film sans Crawford!), the hag-horrors might have been Ingrjd Bergman and Tallulah Bankhead or Ginger Rogers and Marlene Dietrich, to name just four earlier possibilities. (There are more). Bette and producer William Frye tried to persuade Alfred Hitchcock to tackle what became known as hagsploitation. He was too busy (editing Psycho, prepping The Birds), besides he’d long since worked simply for himself. Other nearly Baby Janes were Susan Hayward, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Jennifer Jones,  Plus Agnes Moorhead, in a 1960 version with Jennifer West; Agnes joined the sorta-sequel,  Hush…Hush,Sweet Charlotte, 1964
  8. Margaret Leighton, The Loved One, 1964. “The motion picture with something to offend everyone…” It would have been more so if Spanish legend Luis Buñuel had managed to  make it with Alec Guinness in  the mid-1950s. Instead, the newly Oscared UK director Tony Richardson made a mess of Evelyn Waugh’s 1948 satire of the American funeral home business.  Best players on-screen were Milton Berle and Margaret Leighton arguing about how to bury their pet pooch. Such a flabbergasting mismatch, said Observer critic Charles Taylor.  in 2006, “no problem believing they’ve been married for years.” Richardson had hoped for larger mismatches: Phil Silvers wed to Vivien Leigh, Jeanne Moreau or Simone Signoret. Agnes Moorehead was first signed but was called back to Hush… Hush,  Sweet Charlotte for re-shoots of her scenes with  Joan Crawford when she was replaced by Olivia De Havilland. The following year, Richardson directed Moreau in Mademoiselle and she was the co-respondent in Vanessa Redgrave’s divorce from him in 1967.

 Birth year: 1906Death year: 1974Other name: Casting Calls:  8