Elaine Stritch

  1. Joyce Randolph, The Honeymooners, TV, 1951.      Jackie Gleason’s upstairs neighbours in The Honeymooners sketches on Cavalcade of Stars were  Ed and Trixie Norton: Art Carney and his  burlesque dancer-wife played – once only – by Stritch.
  2. Valerie French, The Garment Jungle, 1956.      The Broadway actress was first in line for Lee Hackett. Despite her name, French was British And completely out of place in New York’s realistic trades union battleground.
  3. Sally Kellerman, M*A*S*H, 1969.      Director Robert Altman’s first idea. Even after meeting Kellerman, Bob stuck to his first choice for Hot Lips. “Pure Altman  thinking,” said producer Ingo Preminger. “He loves unattractive people. It’s a kind of inferiority complex. Sally is pretty, but not so pretty. But for Altman, she was too beautiful.” She passed on “this one-level, cold, rotten woman.” It’s just an outline, he said. “Maybe a lot of stuff can happen.”   Sure did.
  4. Beatrice Arthur, The Golden Girls, TV, 1985-1992.      One sassy old Broadway showstopper  for another… Elaine as was considered for the role of Dorothy, the head girl, until another stage star made  it her own. Well, as all actresses up for it were told,  it was “a Bea Arthur-esque role.”  Esque it was!
  5. Pat Carroll, The Little Mermaid, 1989.     “An answer to a prayer,” said Carroll on winning her lifetime’s ambition – voicing a Disney character.   Ursula had been designed for Bea Arthur – far too busy with the Stritch-spurned Golden Girls,  Next? Divine (!), Charlotte Rae, Roseanne the Absolutely Fabulous Jennifer Saunders and singer Nancy Wilson. Plus a slew of veteran ladies: Coral Browne, Nancy Marchand, Sylvia Sidney – and Stritch, who won the gig, then lost it after disputes with lyricist Howard Ashman.
  6. Bebe Neuwirth, Celebrity, 1997.     Always hard to please, auteur Woody Allen did not like the Vanessa Redgrave sequence. He re-shot it with Elaine Stritch. Didn’t like that either. He rewrote it and went younger with the Tony and Emmy award-winning Neuwirth… as a hooker instructing Judy Davis about oral sex with the help of a banana! Stritch had been here before during the re-shoot circus that was September in 1986, which Woody shot twice over, damn nearly thrice!


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  6