Ann Miller

  1. Joan Caulfield, The Petty Girl, 1949.      George Petty painted pin-ups for “near-beer” ads in 1930 and then for Esquire magazine for 23 years. They were known as The Petty Girls. This is the story of one of them… a college professor he wants to pose for him.   RKO milked publicity by starting a nationwide search for an unknown beauty. Then, Columbia Pictures won the rights and simply chose one of the contract girls. And Robert Cummings was Petty… in the debut of future Hitchcock Girl, Tippi Hedren.
  2. Debbie Reynolds, Singin’ in the Rain, 1952.      Tap Dancing Queen Ann and Howard Keel went the MGM thinking in 1950 before Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen livened everything up.
  3. Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lili, 1952. At first, MGM said the titular  Leslie Caron would co-star with Miller, Fernando Lamas, Ralph Meeker. They became Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Mel Ferrer.  Playing the waif was considered a bum move for Caron. “I heard that the whole studio laughed at me.”  MGMusical producer Arthur Freed told her: “We gotta restore you to stardom – any ideas?”  Yes, she said.  Gigi.  Aha!
  4. Marge Champion, Give A Girl A Break, 1953.     First planned in 1951 as a typical MGMusical – Fred, Gene, Judy, Ann – the  project was reduced to status (old sets, no soundtrack album!), to hopefully inaugurate the next generation of song and dancers: Debbie Reynolds, Marge and Gower Champion, etc. With old time choreography by Kelly and (director) Stanley Donen. (Bob Fosse did his own).
  5. Virgina Gibson, Athena, 1954.     Change of genre, change of star… Esther’s typical swimfest churned into a typical MGMusical (new generation) for Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, Virgina Gibson, Nancy Kilgas, instead of Williams, Miller, Janet Leigh, Elaine Stewart.  Esther got a co-writing nod, not enough to stop her leaving Metro after one  last dive – Jupiter’s Darling, 1954.  
  6. Gloria DeHaven, Call Her Mom, TV, 1972.      Helen Hardgrove in the TV pilot masquerading as a tele-movie went through three MGM song ’n’ dancers: from Cyd Charisse to Ann Miller to DeHaven. The series idea – sexy waitress Connie Stevens as a frat house mother – took off. Just never landed.


 Birth year: 1923Death year: 2004Other name: Casting Calls:  6