Diane Varsi

  1. Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957.    Diane was the perfect age for the 19-year-old Maid of Orleans – she became Allison Mackenzie,the maid of Peyton Place, instead. The tyrannical producer-director Otto Preminger also considered such unlikely Joans as Ursula Andress, Julie Andrews, Anne Bancroft, Claire Bloom, Carol Burnett, Joan Collins, Angie Dickinson, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore, Kim Novak (from Otto’sMan With The Golden Arm, 1955), Debbie Reynolds, Maggie Smith… and Mamie Van Doren!
  2. Debbie Reynolds, Say One For Me, 1958.     Bing Crosby suggested Frank Sinatra for Father Conroy – or the dance club owner Tony Vincent – involved with sweet parishioner Di or Debs.. Varsi – far too busy with her Fox contract films: Peyton Place, Ten North Frederick, From Hell To Texas, Compulsion, etc. The Voice also passed and Der Bingle finally agreed to don the cassock. Again. For the third and last time as a New York City priest – after Going My Way, 1943, and The Bills of St. Mary’s, 1945.
  3. Jill St John, Holiday for Lovers, 1958.      The female roles seemed jinxed. Or as it just the lousy script?   As if he wasn’t having enough issues  with the emotional breakdowns of first Gene Tierney, then Joan Fontaine, as the mother, one of the daughters went from Varsi, the Peyton Place find,  to Diane Baker  and finally to St. John.   In fact, Varsi quit Hollywood after Compulsion that year. Her Fox contract (the cause of her nervous breakdown) then prevented her working for any other company until 1966.
  4. Natalie Wood, Splendor inthe Grass, 1961.     Legendary director Elia Kazan mused upon Jane Fonda, Lee Remickand the Peyton Placestarfor Deanie – but his heart belonged tothe girlfrom Rebel Without A Cause… one of Diane’s rivals for the Saint Joan movie.


 Birth year: 1938Death year: 1992Other name: Casting Calls:  4