Anne Baxter


  1. Ann Gillis, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1937.         Baxter was a mere 14 when invited to Hollywood to test with, of all people, Montgomery Clift as Tom. The test for their screen debuts never happened. Due to Monty’s acne!   CUT to 1950 – and they’re making I, Confess for Alfred Hitchcock in Quebec.
  2. Joan Fontaine, Rebecca, 1939.
  3. Linda Darnell, Chad Hanna, l940.       Consolation prize for losing out to Selznick’s favourite was Jean Renoir’s first US film, Swamp Water.
  4. Joan Bennett, Man Hunt, 1940.      Bennett’s “English” accent was about as rank as Dick Van Dyke’s lousy Cockney in Mary Poppins in a (thankfully) short role opposite Walter Pidgeon – on the run from Nazis in London after trying to kill Hitler in Bavaria, no less.  Also seen for Jerry were  Greer Garson, Virginia Gilmore, Gene Tierney. And the only real Londoner on the short list:  Ida Lupino. 
  5. Linda Darnell, The Mark of Zorro, 1940.    Baxter loses to the studio’ s new darling for the second of (eventually) four times. Both of the two  possible romantic co-stars for Tyrone Power’s dashing hero were 16.  Linda’s  character was called… Lolita. 
  6. Linda Darnell, Chad Hanna, 1940.  Of the quartet seen for Caroline – Baxter, Darnell, Dorris Bowdon andf Brenda Joyce – only Bowdon was sure she’d won.  After all, her husband, Nunnally Johnson, had written the script! On hearing Darnell had won. Dorris said she considered leaving…  the Fox studio?  No, her husband!  
  7. Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette, 1943.         Baxter,  Mary Anderson, Linda Darnell, Lillian Gish, Beatrice Pearson, Ruth Quigley, Gene Tierney, Teresa Wright were all in the frame for the French girl who had a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858. Finally, on December 9, 1942, Jones won “the plum role of the year” – which “introduced” her although she she had made two Republic movies under her real name, Phylis Isley. Now she was being shoved into stardom by her lover and future husband, Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick.  (She was his very own Susan Alexander). To swing her the film, DOS offered to share her contract with Fox. Henry King directed the tests by telling actresses  to look beyond the camera at a shining light.  Jones, said King, didn’t just look – she saw. Hence her Best Actress Oscar on March 2, 1944, although the film was not fully released until April 1945.
  8. Alice Faye, Fallen Angel, 1945. In September 1944, The  Hollywood Reporter said Fontaine won the lead. By Febriary ’45, it was Baxter or Ida Lupino. They did not stand a chance when top Fox star, Faye, searching through 30 scripts for her first movie in two years, decided this was the one. A new Laura! Not what she said on seeing the rough-cut and how the (Laura) director Otto Preminger cut Faye’s impact (and single song), throwing the picture to Linda Darnell – on studio chief Darryl Zanuck’s orders. Faye sped off the “Penitentiary Fox” lot, chucking her dressingrom key at the gate guard, and never worked for Fox again until she was begged to head State Fair in… 1962!
  9. Cathy Downes, My Darling Clementine, 1945.  Baxter, Vanessa Brown,  Jeanne Crain and Linda Darnell  were shoo-ins for the girl Doc Holliday left in Georgia when he went West in 1873 and took over Tombstone.  No, no, no cried head Fox Darryl F Zanuck. Their fans will be upset because Clementine is a small role and he gave John Ford a total unknown… previously credited as Clothes Model, Girl on Carousel and Miss Cream Puff, etc.   Clementine Carter is not as real as Holliday and Wyatt Earp (who advised Ford on Western gun-play). She was based on Doc’s lovin’ cousin, Mattie, who gave up men after Doc and became a nun. Linda was made Doc’s hooker-lover, Chihuahua.
  10. Joan Blondell, Nightmare Alley, 1947.     In November, Baxter and Mark Stevens were set for Zeena and Stan. Within a month, they became Blondell and Tyrone Power.  Baxter had become too important after winning a support Oscar for The Razor’s Edge in1947, also opposite Power.

  11. Linda Darnell, No Way Out, 1949.      Baxter was first announced as the confused Edie Johnson, who had no idea how to deal with racial hatred. Darnell made 55 other screen roles. But this remains her finest hour.
  12. Patricia Neal, The Day The Earth Stood Still, 1950.    Director Robert Wise’s first choice for Helen Benson became his second… Like everyone else, Neal no idea that the little movie would turn into a sf classic. She found it difficult to keep a straight face while saying her lines to Michael Rennie’s Klaatu. Or: Klaatu barada nikto. (George Lucas named two his Star Wars alien bounty hunters, Klaatu and Barada Nikto).
  13. June Haver, Love Nest, 1950.    Haver was  being Fox-grown into Betty Grable’s successor.  That idea  didn’t last long. (Obviously).  These days, the video-jackets show just Haver’s co-star – Marilyn Monroe in an utterly delicious extended cameo.  More!  More!  (We got that when Haver retired, became a nun, then changed veils to wed Fred MacMurray from 1954-1991).
  14. Jeanne Crain, People Will Talk, 1950.  Or Dr. Praetorius, The Doctor’s Diary and The Dr Praetorius Story when Baxter was due to be  the pregnant woman that the good Dr Cary Grant wed to save her from an abortion ot suicide.  But Baxter was too into the role – already pregnant. Crain became the girl – as Grant had always wanted her to be. Among Joe Mankiewicz’s favourite films, despite considering Crain a non-actress.
  15. Kim Hunter, A Streetcar  Named Desire, 1951.     “I still think Baxter is our best bet,” said Elia Kazan about Marlon Brando’s wife, the famous “Stelllaaaaahhh!”  Agent-turned-producer Charles K Feldman “went to great lengths” trying to spring her from Fox.
  16. Patricia Neal, Something For The Birds, 1951.     Environmentalist Patricia Neal fights to to save the California Condor. Didn’t work! This largest North American land bird became extinct in 1987. Although some of the  vultures  were captured, housed, bred and reintroduced to the wild  in 1991. Call it Mrs Smith Goes To Washington…  and Finds Victor Mature. 
  17. Susan Hayward, David and Bathsheba, 1952.     Even after All About Eve, Fox felt Baxter was not name enough to bewitch Gregory Peck.
  18. Susan Hayward, White Witch Doctor, 1952.       …nor Robert Mitchum.
  19. Jean Peters, Niagara, 1953.       Five years earlier, Baxter had taken over the female lead in  the  tacky Western Yellow Sky, when Jean Peters refused it as her debut. (Too sexy, she said). (Baxter,  sexy?) Now, Peters replaced Baxter – fleeing what she saw as being turned into Marilyn Monroe vehicle.  Being under Fox contract, MM was  paid less than her  make-up man.
  20. Marilyn Monroe, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953.       She made it clear, she’d just dye to be Lorelei Lee.   

  21. Maureen O’Hara, The Magnificent Matador (UK: The Brave and the Beautiful), 1954.      In May, the Hollywood Reporter stated that Baxter was about to sign opposite the titular Anthony Quinn.   But O’Hara got the job – a bit of a letdown from director Budd Boetticher.
  22. Yvonne De Carlo, The Ten Commandments, 1954.
  23. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
  24. Lauren Bacall, Written on the Wind, 1955.  Baxter was under consideration, However, Bacall got the lead in Rock Hudson’s fourth weepie – although her husband, Humphrey Bogart. warned her off it. OK, she agreed, “it’s a masterpiece of suds,” but she wanted to work with Hudson.  His sole rival at Universal, Robert Stack, had the showier role. ”Best part since Lost Weekend. The guy is drunk, goes psychotic, beats his wife – it’s an actor’s dream.” And Rock’s role? “As usual, I’m so pure I’m impossible.”   Rainer Werner Fassbinder adored it. And being influenced by it.
  25. Linda Darnell, Dakota Incident, 1956.      Wise rejection of a Dale Robertson cowpoke programmer at Republic, which soon had Linda trying to rescue her falling status by trying Broadway. Neither assignment worked. 
  26. Sophia Loren, Heller In Pink Tights, 1959.    Every Brit wants to make a Western. So, Rennie bought the rights two years earlier and formed a production company with the top Western’s author, Louis L’Amour. They desired Laurence Olivier opposite Marlene Dietrich as the Heller – a rare blonde trip for Sophia! –  in for the sagebrush comedy  about a stage troupe battling Indians, lawmen, creditors and clichés in the 1880s. Dissolve. Their rights passed to Ren-Mor Productions for  Baxter, then on to Paramount, La Loren and Anthony Quinn!  (No kin to the Fox musical refused by Marilyn Monroe in 1954: The Girl in Pink Tights).
  27. Maureen O’Sullivan, Never Too Late, 1965.     Spencer Tracy was the only thought for Harry. arry in Opposite one of a dozen choices for his wife – pregnant at 50, ho ho! From Rosalind Russell to Katherine Hepburn (“but I’m too old for Edith?”). Plus Baxter, June Allyson, Lucille Ball, Joan Fontaine, Susan Hayward, Deborah Kerr, Eleanor Parker, Ginger Rogers, Ann Sheridan. Ultimately, Warner Bros went with the Broadway hit’s duo: Paul Ford and O’Sullivan.
  28. Jane Wyatt, Star Trek #39: Journey to Babel, TV, 1966.  (Stardate 3842.3). The veteran Baxter was first choice for Amanda Grayson’s first appearence. After Wyatt (ironically from Mother Knows Best), Spock’s human mother was later played by Cynthia Blaise, Winona Ryder, Mia Kirshner in various Trektales. Although (or because) Baxter often appeared on Batman, she told the LA Times: “I don’t do comic strips, and Star Trekis six or seven comic strips rolled into one.”
  29. Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967.  

 Birth year: 1923Death year: 1985Other name: Casting Calls:  29