Eva Marie Saint


  1. Kathleen O’Malley, Mister Roberts, 1954. This should have been the third film for EMS, a busy TV actress at the time. The role was a  USNavy nurse. The director was John Ford – so drunk he was fired for punching Henry Fonda in the mouth.  Ford had  voted against  EMS.  “Too attractive.” O’Malley was the actor daughter of actor parents. She played 136 screen roles, from her 1926 debut as a two-year-old to 1998.  And Eva Marie’s third film was… On the Waterfront!  
  2. Irene Papas, Tribute To A Bad Man, 1955.     When Grace Kelly cooled (she was hoping for Giant), Spencer Tracy began to question his own interest on the project. All the more so when finding a replacement proved as troublesome as his health. No one wanted the part: Saint, Jennifer Jones, Dorothy McGuire, Marjorie Steele, etc. Although impressed by Eva in On The Waterfront, Spence voted McGuire (not for the first time). Director Robert Wise preferred “the simply awful Greek” – of whom Tracy had also commented: “Boy or girl?”
  3. Shirley Jones, Oklahoma! 1955.   He saw both but director Fred Zinnemann wanted actors rather than singers. Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Paul Newman, Dale Robertson, Robert Stack, plus singers Vic Damone and   Howard Keel, as Curly… Ann Blyth, Ailene Roberts, Eva Marie Saint, Joanne Woodward and singers Kathryn Grayson, Jane Powell… or even Piper Laurie for Laurey… Ernest Borgnine, Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin, Rod Steiger or Eli Wallach as poor Jud Fry. For a wee while, it looked as if Woodward and future husband Paul Newman would be Laurey and Curly. However, the musical’s parents had casting approval – Rodgers and Hammersteinagreed only about Steiger.  And Oklahoma was played by Arizona!
  4. Kim Novak, The Eddy Duchin Story, 1955.  Both Saint and Joan Fontaine were seen for the 30s/40s’ pianist-bandleader’s first wife, Marjorie Oelrichs. (She died in childbirth). Director George Sidney preferred Novak.  Younger, he said. And not a word about her being under contract to the film’s backer, Columbia. Tyrone Power was an effective Duchin.  
  5. Pier Angeli, Somebpdy Up There Likes Me, 1956.   Paul Newman’s career finally kicks off after the disastrous Silver Chalice – as the Brooklyn Bruiser, world middleweight boxing champ Rocky Graziano.  His girl in both films was Pier Angel, although EMS had been seen first, following her supporting Oscar  for On The Waterfront, 1953.   
  6. Joanne Woodward, The Long Hot Summer,1957.  Martin Riitt wanted EMS – they’d worked together at the Actors Studio – and No Down Paymentin 1956. Ritt also highly rated Woodward. “She was tougher to cast [than husband Paul] Newman] because she was just a very good actress.” But Fox was a hot for her due to first reports about her Three Facesof Eve.  And so the Newmans-to-be  won spent two monhs on location in Louisiana.

  7. Janet Leigh, Psycho, 1959. 
    Obvious first choice, after North By Northwest, for The  Master’s master stroke.  “What if we got a big-name actress to play the girl? Nobody will expect her to die… {The film] was a big joke,” Hitchcock told BBC’s Monitor in 1964.”I was horrified to find some people took it seriously.” Aided by his wife, Alma, Hitch took his time selecting his most famous murder victim, Marion Crane.   Angie Dickinson, Martha Hyer, Shirley Jones, Hope Lange, Piper Laurie, Lee Remick, Eva Marie Saint  and Lana Turner all missed the most infamous shower scene of 78 camera angles and 52 cuts in its three minutes,shot during December 17-23, 1959, with Leigh and body double Marli Renfro. “Just 52 pieces of film stuck together,” said Hitchcock. Dickinson had her own big shower moment 19 years later in Dressed To Kill.  Of course she did – her director was the infernal Hitch copier, Brian De Palma. Which is why he also also used a body double… and then made a film, called just that. Alexandre O Philippe made a better one, 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, 2016, telling us all we ever wanted to know about what made Jane Leigh take baths for the rest of her life. As to ace credits designer Saul Bass actually directing the sequence, that’s a whole other story. Leigh said he didn’t.  He assured me he did!

  8. Maria Schell, Cimarron,1960.    The mopey German beat Saint to the titular Glenn Ford’s wife, Sabra Cravat, in the second film of Edna Ferber’s typicably epic novel…  The first 1931 version won the Best Film Oscar. This one did not. Ferber hated it. “I shan’t go into the anachronisms in dialogue; the selection of a foreign-born actress to play an American-born bride; the repetition; the bewildering lack of sequence…. This old gray head turned almost black during those two (or was it three?) hours.”
  9. Tippi Hedern, Marnie, 1963.    And again…  When it proved (royally, politically) impossible for Grace Kelly to return to the screen as, of all  things for a serene princess to play, a compulsive (and frigid) thief, Alfred Hitchcock cast a wider net.  He totally engulfed the unknown Griswold (Mrs Sydney Pollack)…  then,  the  British  Susan Hampshire,   his mousey pactee Vera Miles, Lee Remick  and Saint  – Hitch called her “the holiest of actresses.”
  10. Julie Andrews, Torn Curtain, 1965.  For what was being touted as Ther Master’s  50th film (it was #61 of 64), Alfred Hitchcock wanted to reprise Cary Grant and EMS from North  by Northwest but Grant was adamant. He was (sadly) retiring that year afterWalk Don’t Run.   Hitch even thought about his find for The Birds and Marnie,  but Tipp[ Hedren continued to avoid his  interest.  He told me, in London  on April 21, 1966,  that he was elbowed into better box-office bets, Julie and Paul Newman. That’s when he added: “You have a certain character in mind, certain settings. As you begin  the  execution of it – well,  the  thing you start with is the first compromise… The compromise  of  casting.” “I did not have to act,” said Julie. “I merely went along for the ride. The kick of it was working for Hitchcock. That’s what I did it for, and that’s what I got out of it.”

  11. Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967.   
  12. Joan Hackett, Will Penny, 1967.     Lee Remick refused it, Jean Simmons was unavailable, and Saint was “closer, physically, to our frontier woman,” noted Charlton Heston in his diary, “and a good actress to boot.”
  13. Kim Hunter, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
  14. Faye Dunaway,  The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968.    Having made The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, with her, Canadian director Norman Jewison announced her as the insurance investigator. Too old, screamed the suits. OK, the director drew up a dreamy wish list:  Anouk Aimé,  Brigitte Bardot, Candice Bergen, Leslie Caron, Julie Christie, Suzanne Pleshette, Vanessa Redgrave, Sharon Tate,   Raquel Welch… and his star, Steve McQueen, suggested testing Camilla Sparv.  However, there was a  bonnier (not classier) blonde in town. “I’ve just seen an early print of Bonnie and Clyde, ”said Jewison,  “and you’re gonna spend eight hours kissing her!”
  15. Bibi Anderson, An Enemy of the People, 1976.  What on earth was going on here…?  Why would  Steve McQueen – known for telling such potential co-stars as Stella Stevens, “I don’t need competition” – set himself up for the chop  with such a vanity project as  a  1882 Ibsen play, way beyond his style, scope  and  talent.    He wanted the Missus aboard, too. And then they divorced.   EMS was contacted but hey why not one of those Ingmar Bergman broads?






 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  15