Dame Wendy Hiller

  1. Deborah Kerr, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, 1943.     Wendy’s pregnancy led to director Michael Powell’s coupe de foudre for Deborah –  first, the young  actress, perfect as the three versions of Blimp’s ideal woman  and later  as  Powell’s lover.  They talked of marriage but when she signed with MGM, Powell swiftly wed Frankie Reidy, his mistress since 1933.  “I’m not going to be Mr Deborah Kerr.” 
  2. Jean Seberg,  St  Joan, 1957.     George Bernard Shaw had tried to film his  play in 1942. But neither GBS or Gabriel Pascal could find their Joan. Wendy, their classic Eliza Dolittle and Major Barbara, had “not enough feel for religious parts”  – rather more, surely, than  director Otto Preminger’s all-American unknown from Marshalltown, Iowa.
  3. Celia Johnson, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1969.     First film in a dozen years after the appalling Good Companions, 1957,  for the quintessential English heroine of Brief Encounter, 1945.  The Hollywood backers did not want her but  she stole the film from Maggie Smith.  They both won British Academy Awards; Maggie netted an Oscar, too.

 Birth year: 1912Death year: 2003Other name: Casting Calls:  3