Evelyn Keyes

  1. Mary Carlisle, Say It In French, 1937.       Keyes had been initially selected for Phyllis Carrington in the madcap farce – stolen by Hollywood’s vibrant new French find, Olympe Bradna – named by her vaudevillian parents after their favourite Paris theatre, L’Olympia.. First version of director Andrew L Stone’s script was banned for its “sex situations.” No wonder he switched to violence. The Night Holds Terror, Cry Terror, The Decks Ran Red…
  2. Vivien Leigh,  Gone With The Wind, 1938.
  3. Claire Trevor, Texas, 1940.       While directors switchbacked fromStuart Heisler and Charles Vidor to George Marshall, Keyes was seen for Mike King  – in  what was something of a  reprise of the leading man William Holden’s  previous Columbia Western, Arizona.  Then, as 22, he was saddled with Jean Arthur at 40. Now at 21, his lady was 30.
  4. Barbara Hale, And Baby Makes Three, 1949.     The pitch: a woman about to wed her lover finds she is pregnant by her ex-husband… Yeah, well, that probably explains why Keyes refused the rôle. Unless it was because her co-star was due to be Ronald Reagan. She should have waited. He fled, too. Finally the ex-couple were two future top TV stars: Robert Young, whi headed Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby MD during 1954-1976 and, of course, Hale was Perry Mason’s Della Street for 271 cases and 30 tele-films between 1957-1995.
  5. Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday,  1950.     Columbia’s crude chief Harry Cohn spent the first $1m for a play – written for Jean Arthur – as a Rita Hayworth vehicle.  As she swanned around  Europe with the Aly Khan,  Cohn preferred Arthur, Alice  Faye, Paulette Goddard, Gloria Grahame, Celeste Holm, Evelyn Keyes, Marie McDonald, Marilyn Monroe, Jan Sterling, Lana Turner  – anyone other than  “the fat Jewish broad,”  the understudy who had made the play a hit. Katharine Hepburn waged a campaign to change Cohn’s mind, by virtually turning Judy’s support role in Tracy and Hepburn’s Adam’s Rib into the most elaborate screen test. An act of generosity unsurpassed in  Hollywood history.   Cohn gave in, gracefully. “Well, I’ve worked with fat assess before!” He paid a  meagre $4,500 to the actress who   did the impossible – and wrested Oscar from Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd on March 29, 1951 Judy also won  Kate for a lover – Hepburn’s final lesbian  affair at a  mere 43.
  6. Alexis Smith, The Prowler, 1951.      Exiled US director Joseph  Losey saw and liked both actresses. Alexis bravely turned up in Britain for his first post-McCarthy film, The Sleeping Tiger, 1954, signed Victor Hanbury – the production director most upset at selling his name for $100. 

 Birth year: 1916Death year: 2008Other name: Casting Calls:  6