Eleanor Parker


  1. Judy Garland, For Me and My Gal, 1941.    Parker and Dan Dailey were dropped during rehearsals and rapidly replaced as Jo and Harry by Garland and Gene Kelly.  She  loved his his Pal Joey on Broadway and insisted on  him making his screen debut as  her co-star – in  he first of three musicals  as co-stars
  2. Dolores Moran, Old Acquaintance, 1942.    New director Vincent Sherman thought Parker was best suited to the role of Deidre, but head bro Jack Warner kept the faith with the orginal choice of the first director, Edmund Goulding – who simply fled from  what would doubtless be and terrible Bette Davis v Miriam Hopkins  prize fight!
  3. Ingrid Bergman, Saratoga Trunk, 1943.  Head bro Jack Warner shelled out $175,000 for the rights to Edna Ferber’s latest huge (ie rambling) novel – for an  Errol Flynn-Olivia De Havilland reunion.  Or Errol Flynning  Bette Davis, Vivien Leigh, Eleanor Parker, Ann Sheridan or the Russian Tamara Toumanova and even Lena Horne –  a  brave move as  black stars were never offered above-the-title roles in those dark years, much less as a white man’s lover.  It also loomed large as  the Dutch-born Nina Foch’s debut, although  she  ten years  younger than most candidates. However, Sam Wood got the gig and used his Hemingwayesque couple from the 1942 For Whom the Bell Tolls:  Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as a Swedish Creole! In Hollywood, any accent is the right accent. Sam’s assistant director was… Don Siegel. (Not released, due to the flood of  propaganda movies, until 1946).
  4. Alexis Smith, Conflict, 1944. Humphrey Bogart is sure he’s committed the perfect murder of his wife to wed her younger sister…  Smith beat Coleman and Eleanor Parker to the Evelyn role. Bogie detested  being forced into the script but more or less reprised it with The Two Mrs Carrolls – also with the under-rated Smith.
  5. Ida Lupino, The Very Thought of You, 1944.  The gossp mills were divided. Lupino ”lost interest” as if Warner Bros cared if their contracted actors were interested or not.  (Ida was more interested in directing). Or she was using the great coverall – being ill. (Hollywood doctors had a growth industry of signing sick chits for stars). Either way, this was Parkers first film in her two-months-old Warner contract.
  6. Lauren Bacall, Confidential Agent, 1945.      Graham Greene’s book was set for Humphrey Bogart   and Parker.   Bogie’s girl made what Bosely Crowther called “a fizzle” of it opposite Charles Boyer. “To cast me as an aristocratic English girl,” Bacall admitted, “was more than a stretch.   It was dementia.”
  7. Joan Crawford, Humoresque, 1945.      Parker was set to be the wealthy socialite enjoying  a little rough with John Garfield’s violinist star from the slums.  Until La Crawford heard that Helen was also neurotic.  Too good to miss!  
  8. Martha Vickers, The Man I Love, 1945.     Titles changed (Night Shift, Why Was I Born?), directors changed (Lloyd Bacon to Raoul Walsh), even the release dates (from ’46 to ’47), plus the stars (Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan to Robert Alda and Ida Lupino), so why not the support troops…
  9. Alexis Smith, Stallion Road, 1946. The brothers Wartner wanted – obviously – Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, twogether again.  She refused and got suspended. He refused and was left alone.  Smith took over as the horse-breeder snared between novelist Zachary Scott and a vet played by… Ronald Reagan.
  10. Deborah Kerr, The Prisoner of Zenda, 1951.     MGM used the same 1936 script, score and most of the camera angles.  With slight variations.  Parker and the hero Stewart Granger’s wife, Jean Simmons, lost Princess Flavia to  the more regal Kerr. 

  11. Ava Gardner, Mogambo, 1953.       The film already had a blonde: Grace Kelly. So,   Honey Bear had to be brunette. Nobody changed the hero… Clark Gable re-moulding his Red Dust 21 years later.
  12. Jane Wyman, Magnificent Obsession, 1953.    It was Wyman’s idea to re-hash the 1935 Universal weepie.  She first approached director Douglas Sirk about it.   And then,  whadderyerknow, Universal had the gall to start talking  to Parker, Joan Crawford and Olivia de Havilland about being Helen Phillips… As if Wyman was going to let that happen! She didn’t get all her own  way, though. Co-star Jeff Chandler fled saying the story was “soppy.”   (And how!)  
  13. Elizabeth Taylor, Beau Brummell, 1953.     As Lady Patricia, Parker would have been the sole American in MGM’s Brit-packed costume drama at the court of  King George III, starring  Taylor and  Stewart Granger plus James Donald, Robert Morley, Paul Rogers, Peter Ustinov.
  14. Lauren Bacall, Woman’s World, 1954.   Which guy wins  the top  job depends on their wives…  Fred McMurray’s embittered Lauren Bacall from Philly;  Cornel Wilde’s June Allyson, a hayseed from Kansas City; or Van  Heflin’s Arlene  Dahl, who,  as Variety reported, is  “a pushy glamour gal, not unwilling to throw her sex around to gain her aims.”
  15. Grace Kelly, The Country Girl, 1954.   Despite the title, Bing Crosby felt his retired song ‘n’ dance man was a great chance for a second Best Actor Oscar.  Just didn’t turn out that way. He was nominated but in a surprise upset, Kelly was the big winner, beating A Star Is Born’s Judy Garland to the Best Actress award. Olivia De Havilland and (a pregnant) Jennifer Jones and Eleanor Parker had also been in the mix for her mousey Georgie
  16. Grace Kelly, Green Fire, 1955.      First announced  for Ava Gardner, then passed to Eleanor… but Kelly was winning everything/
  17. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
  18. June Allyson, The Opposite Sex, 1955.”Manhattan Island: A body of land consisting of four million square malescompletely surrounded by women… When Parker rejected the main role of Kay, in order to  to rest after a hectic two years, she was promptly praised for her commonsense or immediately suspended? Well, whaddyer think…! Grace Kelly and even mermaid Esther Williams had also been in the frame. One of the  ’39 cast, Joan Crawford, commented:“We towered compared to those pygmies in the remake.”
  19. Vera Miles, Psycho, 1959.  First reserve… After Grace Kelly went royal, mousey Miles was Alfred Hitchcock’s favourite even though she kept missing films he planned for her due, as Hitch would have put it, to her propensity for procreation. For Janet Leigh’s sister, healso considered Parker, Carolyn Jones, Hope Lange, Kim Stanley (not happy about working with Anthony Perkins), Lana Turner… and the inevitable unknown (then and now) Caroline Kurney. As for the film – “It was a big joke,” Hitchcock told BBC’sMonitor in 1964.”I was horrified to find some people took it seriously.” 
  20. Maureen O’Hara, Mr Hobbs Takes a Vacation, 1961.  Originlly, Parker wore the ring as Mrs Hobbs.   But in the first of their two films, O’Hara was as perfect a fit with James Stewart as she always was with John Wayne.  

  21. Claire Trevor, The Stripper, 1962.    Lousy title for William Inge’s play,A Loss of Roses.  (Well, Marilyn Monroe was due to star). The year before,  Parker was announced for the good friend helping out the titular Joanne Woodward, an “ageing” tentshow actress (not ecdysiast) of the Kansas 30s.
  22. Ginger Rogers, Harlow, 1965.     The possibles to play Jean Harlow’s mother (in the Carol Lynley version) also included Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth.
  23. Maureen O’Sullivan, Never Too Late, 1965.      Spencer Tracy was the only  thought for Harry. Opposite one of a dozen choices for his wife – pregnant at 50, ho, ho,  ho! From Rosalind Russell to Katherine Hepburn (“but I’m too old for Edith?”). Plus Parker, June Allyson, Lucille Ball, Anne Baxter, Joan Fontaine, Susan Hayward, Deborah Kerr, Ginger Rogers, Ann Sheridan. Ultimately, Warner Bros went with the Broadway hit’s duo: Paul Ford and O’Sullivan. 
  24. Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967



 Birth year: 1922Death year: 2013Other name: Casting Calls:  24