Ben Lyon

  1. Ramon Novarro, Ben-Hur, 1926.      Rescuing the over-budget silent epic inherited by the newly formed MGM, production chief Irving Thalberg dumped George Walsh (Raoul’s brother) from Italian locations, for a more Jewish-looking hero able to handle horses. Lyon was Jewish, Hoot Gibson and Buck Jones were cowboys – but the chariot went to Mexican-born Novarro.  Lyon, a huge radio star in wartilme Britian with his movie star wife Bebe Daniels (and family), helped make a star of Jean Harlow as well as re-naming a certain starlet as…  Marilyn Monroe.
  2. Robert Montgomery, Night Flight, 1932.  MGM wanted to beat Howard Hughes’ Hell’s Angels. The studio had the right book:  by The Little Prince author Antoine de Saint Exupéry, based on his lfe with the pioneering French Aeropostale. And nearly had Lyon,  one of Hughes’ Angels. But  had to make  do with John and Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Helen Hayes, Robert Montgomery – yet hardly any of them, shared scenes. Result: Gable’s biggest flop since… Polly of the Circus.


 Birth year: 1901Death year: 1979Other name: Casting Calls:  2