Barbara Bates

  1. Yvonne De Carlo, Salome Where She Danced, 1944.    Producer Walter Wanger decided on a nation wide search – to find a new female star.  He cut 20,000 wannabes (yeah, sure) to eight including Mary Lou Campell, plus Bates and  Kerry Vaughn who became Salome Girls – while the siren, herself, became De Carlo.  On loan  from RKO.
  2. Evelyn Keyes, Mrs Mike, 1949.   June Allyson was suggested for the lead. Of course, she was.  Her husband, Dick Powell, was the star.  And producer!   Also considered for his Mountie’s Bostonian wife:  Bates, Peggy  Cummins,  Betsy Drake, Joanne Dru,  Diana Lynn.
  3. Claire Bloom, Limelight, 1951.     For what proved his last film made in America, Charles Chaplin offered the ballerina Thereza to Bates. However, the knives were already out for the cinema’s  finest star and Fox  ordered her refusal.   Bloom was quite a Bates clone, but a more successful star. “I have no illusions about being a star,” said Bates. “Every time I did something really important, they ended up cutting it.”
  4. Anne Francis, Rogue Cop, 1953.    Bates, Anne Bancroft and Margia Dean tested for Nancy, the drunken moll of the guy who stole all – George Raft in his first a movie in years. By 1955, Bates was washed up, a victim of extreme insecurity and chronic depression. Cecil Coen, her older, Svengaliesque husband got her a UK deal with the Rank Organisation. She was better than the films, yet her recurrent instability killed the contract. She returned home to Denver, working as a secretary, dental assistant and hospital aide, before killing herself – carbon monoxide poisoning in her car.

 Birth year: 1925Death year: 1969Other name: Casting Calls:  4