Alice Faye

  1. Vivien Leigh, Gone With The Wind, 1938. 
  2. Dorothy Lamour, Johnny Apollo, 1939.       Faye and Linda Darnell were sideswiped by Lamour on loan from Paramount  (“yeah you can have her if we can have Don Ameche”) as Lucky, the lounge singer, delivering much more than just ‘This is the Beginning of the End’ and ‘Dancin’ for Nickels and Dimes’ for  the titular Tyrone Power. 
  3. Betty Grable, Down Argentine Way, 1940.       Grable lost the recent Man About Town due to appendicitis and now Faye lost this one for the same reason. And suddenly, Grable was a star – after being dropped by Goldwyn, RKO and Paramount – because this film supplied what her 27 others lacked. Colour. Fox set 22 movies around her limited talents – ah, but those legs! – as she dethroned Faye before losing her own crown to a certain Marilyn Monroe.
  4. Carole Landis, Cadet Girl, 1940.       She’s not in the Army, just a singer between feuding brothers and their big bands. A musical propaganda programmer from Fox with George Montgomery falling for Faye… no, Betty Grable… no, finally, Carole Landis, as the singer with his brother Shepperd Strudwick’s band. Cue: loud s(w)inging of “It won’t be fun, But it’s got to be done / It’s a fight for the U.S.A., And the U.S. way!”
  5. Gene Tierney, Belle Starr,  1941.        Fox’s  somewhat surprising first choice to be Starr, nee Shirley.
  6. Betty Grable, Song of the Islands,  1941.      Once Faye and Joan Davis were bypassed, it was always going to be Grable as Eileen, on the tropical isle Ahmi-Oni. She fell for Victor Mature’s Irishman, looking and sounding as Irish as Cheetah.
  7. Rita Hayworth, My Gal Sal, 1941.        With the arrival of Betty Grable and Hayworth, things were  getting tough for Faye at Fox. And now pregnant, she missed the biopic about novelist Theodore Dreiser’s songwriter brother, Paul Dresser. (Yes, their surnames are different).  What worried the censors was his love of “sex affairs.”   Is there any other kind worth having?
  8. Betty Grable, Footlight Serenade, 1941.  Faye was taking time out to have a baby with Phil Harris (a daughter, Alice Faye Harris, no less) and surrendered a second  musical to the Grable torso. Grable’s partner in one  number was the rarely seen Hermes Pan – Fred Astaire’s lookalike choreographer.
  9. Ginger Rogers, Roxie Hart, 1942.   Dedicated to “all the beautiful women in the world who have shot their men full of holes out of pique.” This being a Fox musical, the titular role was reserved for Alice Faye, of course. Except, she was pregnant with her first daughter, Alice Harris. With Grable quickly eclipsing her, it was difficult to see who was least interested in her career – Faye or what she called Penitentiary Fox.
  10. Betty Grable, Springtime in the Rockies, 1942.       Playing Vickie Lane was impossible.  Faye was pregnant with her and Phil Harris’ first daughter, Alice Faye Harris…  Phyllis Wanda followed two years later.  

  11. Betty Grable, Coney Island, 1943.   As close to the real Coney as the Eiffel Tower was… Carny operators Laird Cregar and Pat O’Brien plus showgirl Alice Faye were Fox-churned into George Montgomery, Cesar Romero and what Variety called “a 95-minute audition of Betty Grable’s chassis and legs – in color.” She also made the 1949 re-hash, Wabash Avenue.
  12. Betty Grable, Sweet Rosie O’Grady, 1943.   Being pregnant with her second daughter, Phyllis,  ruled Faye out of being Madeleine ‘Madge’ Marlowe, finance of the Duke of Trippingham and, unknown to him, ex-burlesque queen Rosie O’Grady – in a rehash of Tyrone Powell/Loretta Young’s Love Is News, 1936. Enter Fox’s next Faye – Grable!
  13. Joan Blondell, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, 1944.    Elia Kazan’s directing debut was based on a book by his Yale Drama School classmate, Betty Smith. Fox bought it for Alice Faye’s first straight role as Aunt Sissy. She developed cold feet. And even more so about Katie… played by,…
  14. Dorothy Maguire, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, 1944. … Also in the Katie Nolan mix were Mary Anderson, Jeanne Crain and (a pregnant) Gene Tierney 13 – June Haver, The Dolly Sisters, 1944. Fox wanted her as Betty Grable’s sister – again. But she was so hurt at how her Fallen Angel role was re-edited to favour co-star Linda Darnell, Faye stormed out of a studio screening, drove off the Fox lot, hurling her dressingroom key at the security guard… until she was begged to return in 1962!
  15. June Haver, The Dolly Sisters, 1944.      Fox wanted her as Betty Grable’s sister – again.  But she was so hurt  at how her Fallen Angel role was re-edited to favour co-star Linda Darnell, she quit movies until 1962. ”
  16. Vivian Blaine, State Fair, 1944.        Faye made a comeback (after a 17 year lay-off) in the 1962 re-make if the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical – as the mother of the character she refused in ’44! And she was still not happy. “I don’t know what happened to the picture business. I’m sorry I went back to find out.”
  17. Jeanne Crain, A Letter To Three Wives, 1948.       Originally To Four  Wives…  Too long, snapped head Fox Darryl Zanuck. Kill one wife!  (So Anne Baxter’s Martha never got Addie’s letter about running off with one of their spouses). Other  potential wives were Faye, Dorothy McGuire, Maureen O’Hara, Gene Tierney.
  18. Virginia Mayo, Red Light, 1948.       “I’m giving you a job to do, baby. Don’t ask questions and you won’t get hurt.” Faye and Shelley Winters were also in the frame for the girl caught up in George  Raft’s (monotone) search-and-destroy mission for a particular Gideon Bible.  Worked a treat  with a little Mayo on the side.
  19. Betty Grable, Wabash Avenue, 1949. The Phil Harrises lost a co-starring chance when he came in one door to play her lover wannabe, and his wife, Alice Faye, slipped out a side door… replaced by the star of the original version, Coney Island, 1941. Betty Grable.
  20. Judy Holliday,  Born  Yesterday,  1950.       Columbia’s crude chief Harry Cohn spent the first $1m for a play – written for Jean Arthur – as a Rita Hayworth vehicle.  As she swanned around  Europe with the Aly Khan,  Cohn preferred Arthur, Faye, Paulette Goddard, Gloria Grahame, Celeste Holm, Evelyn Keyes, Marie McDonald, Marilyn Monroe, Jan Sterling, Lana Turner  – anyone other than  “the fat Jewish broad,”  the understudy who had made the play a hit. Katharine Hepburn waged a campaign to change Cohn’s mind, by virtually turning Judy’s support role in Tracy and Hepburn’s Adam’s Rib into the most elaborate screen test. An act of generosity unsurpassed in  Hollywood history.   Cohn gave in, gracefully. “Well, I’ve worked with fat assess before!” He paid a  meagre $4,500 to the actress who   did the impossible – and wrested Oscar from Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd on March 29, 1951 Judy also won  Kate for a lover – Hepburn’s final lesbian  affair at a  mere 43.

 Birth year: 1915Death year: 1998Other name: Casting Calls:  20