Ann Sheridan


  1. Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage, 1934.  “I never cared for ya, not once! I was always makin’ a fool of ya! Ya bored me stiff; I hated ya! It made me sick when I had to let ya kiss me. only did it because ya begged me, ya hounded me and drove me crazy! And after ya kissed me, I always used to wipe mah mouth! Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn and Ann Sheridan shied away from such lines. Bette Davis was delighted. She saw Mildred Rodgers saw her breakout role. Daily, for a month she he begged head bro’ Jack Warner to allow her to make the RKO film She even agreed to make such hodge-podge as Fog Over Frisco for him first. He was adamant that the film and the abominable Mildred would harm, even destroy her career. He finally agreed to see her fail – like who did she think she was, choosing her films! Director John Cromwell was keen after her support role in The Cabin in the Cotton with one pf her favourite signature one-liners:  Ah’d like t’ kiss ya, but Iah just washed mah hair.”  Great fun compared to Mildred…  “My understanding of Mildred’s vileness, not compassion but empathy, gave me pause… I was still an innocent. And yet Mildred’s machinations I miraculously understood when it came to playing her. I was often ashamed of this.” The film made her the kind of star Jack Warner never knew how to employ. He was so annoyed at her triumph that he spread the word not to vote for her come Oscar time. She lost to Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night and won the following year for Dangerous in a sympathy vote for losing to CC… who she famously replaced her in  in All About Eve, 16 years later.
  2. June Lang, The Road To Glory, 1936.     Clara Lou Sheridan had the perfect look for the French nurse caught between two men – the usual Howard Hawks premise.  However, her Texan accent was too strong. On Hawks’ suggestion, Jack Warner out her under contract with a new name – and The Grey Fox memorably wed her to Cary Grant a dozen years later in I Was A Male War Bride.
  3. Ona Munson, Gone With The Wind,  1938.
  4. Jane Bryan, Each Dawn I Die, 1938.     No questioning Cagney’s role – sheer musical chairs with other parts. Including Sheridan losing her second Cagney film to the Hollywood-born actress who quit five films later at age 21.
  5. Gladys George, The Roaring Twenties, 1938.   Panama Smith was a tough role to fill.  But nothing had changed that much at Warner since James Cagney had been away…  Gladys George replaced Sheridan who replaced Patrick who had replaced Glenda Farrell.  And film censor James L Breen banned any more jazzy Prohibition  studies, which is why The Great Gatsby could not be made for another ten years.  (Sheridan joined Cagney, three film later, for City For Conquest,  1940).
  6. Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story, 1940.    Everyone was after the year’s big Broadway hit. Warners offered the most ($225,000) for Kate’s rights   – for a movie with Errol Flynn.   Although,   Jack Warner was really trying to ditch Miss Box Office Poison for his Oomph Girl.
  7. Rita Hayworth, The Strawberry Blonde, 1940.    Sheridan lost her next James Cagney gig  after fighting with Warner (like Cagney had done) for better parts. And money.  He won, she didn’t. Hayworth was borrowed from from Columbia – for  her first leading role. And did so well that head brother Jack Warner loaned her again for another romcom, Affectionately Yours. Sheridan’s shrug said it all:  “I’d played too many parts like that one.”  
  8. Dorothy Lamour, Chad Hanna, 1940.  Lamour, Sheridan and Hedy Lamarr were all in the frame for Albany, the circus equestrian  star Henry Fonda falls for back in the 1870s.  Next, he fancies Linda Darnell‘s as an expert bare-back rider. No furher comment.   (Well, I should add that Fonda  was 35, Darnell, was 17!)
  9. Barbara Stanwyck, Meet John Doe, 1940.    Director Frank Capra’s desire was thwarted by a row over the contract of Warners’ Oomph Girl Next, Olivia De Havilland passed on the newspaper woman opposite the titular Gary Cooper.  Enter: Stanwyck. She was one of ttwo reasons why Cooper accepted the film, script unseen. The other was the director. Frank Capra. 
  10. Bette Davis, The Bride Came COD,  1940.  Some suggested COD meant Cagney over Davis as Warner  Bros trumpeted the first co-starring of their   top attractions.  Or, that is the first time since Jimmy The Gent in 1933…!  It had almost been Cagney and Olivia De Havilland, Ginger Rogers, Rosalind Russell or Ann Sheridan. “It was called a comedy,” snorted Bette. “All I  got out of the film was a derriere full of cactus quills.” 

  11. Alexis Smith, Gentleman Jim, 1941. Not even a director like Raoul Walsh could get his own way…  He wanted the delightfully hammy Barry Fitzgerald as boxer Jim Corbett’s father, Phil Silvers for fun,  plus Sheridan or Rita Hayworth for romance.  Walsh made do with Alan Hale, Jack Carson, Alexis Smith, while managing   to keep  Errol Flynn as Corbett. 
  12. Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca,  1941.
  13. Mary Astor, Across The Pacific, 1942.     Something of a Big Sleep reunion (Astor, Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet, director  John  Huston) was first seen as a seventh teaming of Bogie and Sheridan.   She was stuck on George Washington Slept Here.
  14. Ingrid Bergman, Saratoga Trunk, 1943.  Head bro Jack Warner shelled out $175,000 for the rights to Edna Ferber’s  latest huge (ie rambling) novel – for an  Errol Flynn-Olivia De Havilland reunion.  Or Errol Flynning  Bette Davis, Nina Foch, Vivien Leigh, Eleanor Parker, Ann Sheridan or the Russian Tamara Toumanova  as Clio Dulaine, Coop’s aristocratic Creole lover!  It also loomed large as  the Dutch-born Nina Foch’s debut, although  she  ten years  younger than most candidates. However, Sam Wood got the gig and used his Hemingwayesque couple from the 1942 For Whom the Bell Tolls:  Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as a Swedish Creole! In Hollywood, any accent is the right accent. Sam’s assistant director was… Don Siegel.
  15. Joan Leslie, Hollywood Canteen, 1944.  Too unrealistic, said Sheridan about the lead role of  the drama-doc about the watering hole set up at 1451 Cahuenga Blvd. by Bette Davis and John Garfield  for US troops being shipped out  to or returning  from WWII.  In the script by the similar Stage Door Canteen’s Delmar Daves, Robert Hutton was the soldier falling for Joan Leslie – among the numerous stars on hand. In reality,. And oddly  enough  “our boys”  preferred plain  Bette to the pin-up starlets, and indeed, vice-versa, in any shady spot she could find.
  16. Lauren Bacall, To Have And Have Not,  1944.     “Get a new face!” exclaimed Warner’s chief Jack Warner when Humphrey Bogart suggested Sheridan. Funny you should say that, said director Howard Hawks…  Bogie, meet Betty!.  Warners was not interested, however,  in any director’s find and insisted that Howard Hawks looked at its contractees instead of grooming “Betty Becall.”  None  measured up.   Hawks  kept Sheridan in mind, memorably,  for I Was A Male War Bride, 1948. 
  17. Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce, 1944.     Ann lost ost a possible Oscar. “That’s my fault! Nobody else to blame.” Bette Davis declined “The Kind of Woman that most men want – BUT SHOULDN’T HAVE!” Seeing Mildred as herself, a hard-working, self-sacrificing mother, Crawford swooped, sweet-talking producer Jerry Wald out of Olivia De Havilland, Myrna Loy, Rosalind  Russell, Anne Sheridan and Barbara Stanwyck.  Director Michael Curtiz did not want :the has-=been,”: and was forever cursing  – mainly in Hungarian – “her and her shoulder pads.”  But they won her the Oscar while Davis soon had her first flop in 50 films with the aptly named Deception.  Bette always maintained that Crawford (and Miriam  Hopkins) lusted after her body as well as her success. Bette  played Joan, or a script based on her – with plenty of her “Bless you!” lines thrown in by Davis – in The Star, 1952.  
  18. IIda Lupino, The Man I Love, 1945.      Titles changed (Night Shift, Why Was I Born?), directors changed (Lloyd Bacon to Raoul Walsh), even the release dates (from ’46 to ’47), so why not the stars… From Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart to Lupino and Robert Alda.
  19. Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage, 1945.    Warner Bros obtained the re-make rights by  loaning RKO John Garfield for The Fallen Sparrow and Joan Leslie for The Sky’s the Limit.  However, Sheridan, Irene Dunne and Katharine Hepburn all refused to walk the streets…. and Ida Lupino lost out to Bette Davis finally achieving stardom as the Cockney prostitute opposite, she said, a “very frosty” Leslie Howard.  Of course, he was. She was stealing the entire movie from under his carpet.  
  20. Ida Lupino, Deep Valley, 1946. As the roles were better than the  script, Humphrey Bogart,,John  Garfield and Ann Sheridan took a hike, giving heir embittered trio to Dane Clark, Wayne Morris and Ida Lupino. Indeed, she as so fed up of her treatment at Warner Bros, that she ran away after this mess.
  21. Jane Russell, Montana Belle,1948.   Sheridan and Brian Donlevy were first set  as the leads, But Russell and George Brent finally played Belle Starr and saloon owner Tom  Bradfield. They shot it, for Allan Dwan, in ’48. Nobody saw it for four years.  With a poster of a lounging Russell and the line: “Let’s get friendly… stranger.”
  22. Joan Crawford, Flamingo Road, 1948.       Sheridan fled, saying the adaptation “was neither good nor faithful to the book.” Robert Wilder then rewrote everything and yet still made a roadhouse of Gladys George’s whorehouse. La Crawford sashshayed in. With her shoulder-pads. And too old (at 42) for the raunchy seven-veils dancer.

  23. Hedy Lamarr,  Samson and Delilah, 1948.    
    Cinemperor Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan had been had Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins.   Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious.  He sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner”  from among… Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954), Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), Susan Hayward (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney… even such surprises as comical LucIlle Ball (!) and song ‘n’ dancer Betty Hutton.  Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is larger than the leading lady’s!”
  24. Ava Gardner, My Forbidden Past, 1949.     Co-producer Polan Banks chose Ann for the film of his Carriage Entrance book. Howard Hughes (who bought RKO in 1948) didn’t fancy her  (or her him) and preferred MGM’s new hopeful. Ann sued Hughes and won considerable damages for him for “arbitrarily, wrongfully and unreasonably” violating her RKO contract when he bought  the studio… and for  losing the film  – opposite Robert  Mitchum. “If I could have  gotten him into bed,” admitted Ava, “I  would have.” He said she did. They had time. Hughes kept tinkering with the movie, delaying  its  release until 1951. Hughes’ settlement included Appointment in Honduras. Ava got the better movie.
  25. Joan Fontaine, Serenade, 1955.     Imagine turning  a James M Cain novel into a Mario Lanza musical! Despite four songs in the first  20 minutes, the (fat) Lanza’s comeback, after four years off-screen, flopped. In  1944, the plan was Dennis Morgan and Sheridan until censors intervened. The novel, said web critic David Vineyard, was dark, sensual, powerful, shocking, blatantly sexual, violent, noirish, symbolic.  The film ?  “Tired, trite, empty, slick, pointless.”
  26. Maureen O’Sullivan, Never Too Late, 1965.      Spencer Tracy was the only  thought for Harry. Opposite one of a dozen choices for his wife – pregnant at 50, ho, ho,  ho! From Rosalind Russell to Katherine Hepburn (“but I’m too old for  Edith?”). Plus Sheridan, June Allyson, Lucille Ball, Anne Baxter, Joan Fontaine, Susan Hayward, Deborah Kerr, Eleanor Parker, Ginger Rogers. Ultimately, Warner Bros went with the Broadway hit’s duo: Paul Ford and O’Sullivan. 


 Birth year: 1915Death year: 1967Other name: Casting Calls:  26