Art Carney


  1. Red Buttons,  Hatari!  1961.  A rare Howard Hawks error… The Silver Fox, wanted a joker in his safari back-pack.  McKern and Peter Sellers were seen in London.  McKern refused to work with such a rampant  right-winger as John Wayne.  Sellers didn’t do politics and agreed to be Robbie.  Then, Robbie became Pockets and American and, well, Buttons had recently won an Oscar.  Not for being funny, that’s for sure. (Not in Sayonara).  Only hilarious on TV, Carney won his Oscar in 1975 (and I was there).   Sellers was cheated out of his in 1980.
  2. Robert Preston, The Music Man, 1962.   There was one only Harold Hill –   and that rhymed with P…  Jack Warner begged Cary Grant to do it. “Not only will I not star in it, but if Robert Preston doesn’t star in it, I will not see it,” he said – and used a similar line about Rex Harrison when Warner offered him  My Fair Lady, in  1963. Also refusing to steal Preston’s  thunder:  Milton Berle, Ray Bolger, Art Carney, Dan Dailey, Danny Kaye, Phil Harris, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
  3. Milo O Shea, The Adding Machine, 1969.   Carney (Mr Honeymooners on Jackie Gleason’s TV shows), Martin Balsam and the redoubtable Shelley Winters (for Carney’s shrewish Mrs Zero) were negotiating for a Seven Arts version in 1964.
  4. Eddie Deezen, 1941, 1979.   The Two Bobs (Zemeckis and Gale) wrote Claude and Herbie like The Honeymooners‘ Ralph and Ed. Except Jackie Gleason and Carney would not play ball
  5. Peter Vaughan, Time Bandits, 1980.    Exec producer Dennis O’Brien, said Michael Palin, started hurling suggestions with “all the hallmarks of a man more desperate about a bank loan than about anything to do with the quality of script.” Including Carney as Winston The Ogre… and Burt Reynolds as the Evil Genius!!!Sucha heavy-handed Hollywood approach was killing director Terry Gilliam – “and may kill the film.”Instead, by December1981, it was #1 in America.


 Birth year: 1918Death year: 2003Other name: Casting Calls:  5