Debra Paget

  1. Pier Angeli, The Light Touch, 1951.     Director Richard Brooks did not forget Debra.   He had her replace the injured Anne Bancroft in the The Last Hunt Western, 1956.  Debra Winger was named after Paget (Daddy was a fan), although Paget’s  full name wes Debralee 
  2. Penny Edwards, Pony Soldier, 1951.    Odd title  for a tale of a Mountie… Often Roy Rogers’ partner  (and one-time lover of Ronald Reagan), Edwards  was rescued by heroic Tyrone Power after being captured by  the Canadian Cree tribe.
  3. Constance Smith, Taxi, 1952.   Gregory Ratoff’s wife saw Sans laisser d’addresse in Paris and felt it perfect for the Russian actor-“director.” He bought the rights, sold them to Fox which then  said he was too old for the New York cabby helping a young Irish girl locate her missing husband. Paget was also dropped, replaced by Smith who was, after all, Irish.
  4. Jean Simmons, The Robe, 1952.     Ingrid Bergman, Jennifer Jones and Janet Leigh were seen for Richard Burton’s girl, Diana, in the first (released) CinemaScope movie. Actually, Debra Paget was signed, but proved pregnant.  It’s still her face on the poster. Or so says the legend. For me, the face does not resemble Debra or Jean. There was more drama off-screen…  Simmons had an affair with Burton, who was then warned off by her husband Stewart Granger. With a gun.
  5. Diana Lynn, An Annapolis Story, 1954.   Paget and Terry Moore were first up for the girl in the sandwich of brothers Kevin McCarthy and John Derek in what one web reviewer called “a “patriotic soap” – set in the US Naval Academy. Four years earlier, Derek and Lynn intertwined as those Rogues of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood and Maid “Marianne.”
  6. Joan Collins, The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing, 1955.     Marilyn Monroe refused to be Evelyn Nesbit, the girl in the Stanford White/Harry K Thaw scandal (re-told in Ragtime). Debra and Terry Moore tested while Joan finished The Virgin Queen and started brushing up her US accent for…   the favourite film of her third husband, Ron Kass.
  7. Irish McCalla, Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, TV, 1955-1956. “I couldn’t act, but I could swing through the trees,”admitted the generously built (39x24x38)  pin-up (for Alberto Vargas, etc), before taking over the female Tarzan spurned by Paget and Anita Ekberg. This as McCalll’s ’s best-known of her nine screen roles. But she has a Hollywood Walk of Fame star  at 1722 Vine Street. Irish (nota nickname) beat a brain tumour (twice) and became a painter of more than a thousand canvasses – seascapes and  works with Western or Native American motifs.
  8. Virginia Mayo, The Proud Ones, 1955.   At age 22, the Fox starlet  was way too young for the main squeeze of Marshal Robert Ryan, 46. And all the previous choices: Gary Cooper, 54; Mature, 47;  Gregory Peck 39.  Mayo was a more respectable 35.  After their  Love Me Tender, Elvis asked Debra  to marry hm; mother said no. Her favourite  rôle was Lilia in CB DeMille’s Ten Commandments, 1955.  Following her third divorce in 1980, she became a born-again Christian and hosted a religious radio show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.  “I do things for the Lord Jesus Christ – I give speeches, I write gospel songs and poems that are used when I speak.”


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  8