Gene Tierney


  1. Rita Hayworth, Blood and Sand, 1940.    When Fox decided to take over Paramount’s idea of re-making Rodolfo (sic)  Valentino’s 1922 silen6 classic with Tyrone Power, the suits ran through ten  possibilities for the matador’s lady, Doña Sol des Muir (refused by Tallulah Bankhead in the 30s). Those interviewed and/or tested were Betty Grable, Hedy Lamarr, Dorothy Lamour, Carole Landis, Mona Maris, Maria Montez, Jane Russell, Gene Tierney – and Lynn Bari, who was awarded with the support role of Encarnacion).  Finally, this became Rita Hayworth’s first Technicolor film… even if her singing had to be dubbed by Rosita Granada.  Another re-tread in 1957 for, almost obviously, Sophia Loren, never happened.
  2. Charlotte Greenwood, Moon Over Miami, 1940.    The gorgeous Tierney – and the  much-married Arline Judge – were in the frame for Betty Grable’s Aunt Susan in the second re-tread of 1938’s Three Blind Mice.
  3. Maureen O’Hara, How Green Was My Valley, 1940.     Head Fox Darryl Zanuck 2. changed his mind  about Ida Lupino as the Welsh girl in love with her mining village’s pastor – and turned to O’Hara for what New York Times critic Bosley Crowther hailed as “a stunning masterpiece.” Tierney went on into Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake, 1941, when the same Crowther roasted her over a spit.  He spat : “Miss Tierney, whose talent for acting is open to serious doubt, benefits considerably in this picture by the fact that she doesn’t have much to say.”
  4. Joan Bennett, Man Hunt, 1940.  Bennett’s “English”accent was about as rank as Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney in Mary Poppins in a (thankfully) short role opposite Walter Pidgeon – on the run from Nazis in London after trying to kill Hitler in Bavaria, no less.  Also seen for Jerry were  Anne Baxter, Greer Garson, Virginia Gilmore.  And the only real Londoner on the short list:Ida Lupino. 
  5. Betty Field, King’s Row, 1941.     Studio boss Jack Warner refused to let Bette Davis play Cassie.  Ida Lupino and Olivia De Havilland refused the ole.. The next short list included Tierney, Laraine Day, Katharine Hepburn,  Marsha Hunt, Priscilla Lane, Joan Leslie, Adele Longmire, Susan Peters.
  6. Anne Baxter,Swamp Water, 1941.   Tierney, Linda Darnell and Baxter were lined up for for Julie in Jean Renoir’s first US film since fleeing his Nazi-occupied France. Asusual, Hollywood had scant respect for anyone who was better than Hollywood.Head Fox Darryl F Zanuck dared complain that the master réalisateurof La Grande Illusion, La bête humaine La règle du jeu, revered as the greatest film-maker by Chaplin and Welles, was too slow!! He was fired, then asked to stay. Soon as  the film was finished, Renoir quit Fox. “He’s not one of us,” said DFZ. Bah! On the Oscar night of April 8, 1975, he received an honorary Academy Award for his career. One of his stars, Ingrid Bergman, picked it up for him. I know because I was there.
  7. Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette, 1943.     Tierney, Mary Anderson, Anne Baxter, Linda Darnell, Lillian Gish,  Beatrice Pearson, Ruth Quigley, Teresa Wright were all in the frame for  the  French girl who had a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858. Finally, on December 9, 1942, Jones won “the plum role of the year” – which “introduced” her although she she had made two Republic movies under her real name, Phylis Isley. Now she was being shoved into stardom by her lover and future husband, Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick.  (She was his very own Susan Alexander). To swing her the film, DOS offered to share her contract with Fox. Henry King directed tests by telling actresses  to look beyond the camera at a shining light.  Jones, said King, didn’t just look – she saw. Hence her Best Actress Oscar on March 2, 1944, although the film was not fully released until April 1945.
  8. Elizabeth  Taylor,  National Velvet,  1944.    A trifle old, at 18, but Tierney won MGM’s Velvet Brown except when  shooting was delayed, she accepted  a Fox contract. Next favourites  included  Pat Arno, Alix De Kauffman, Katharine Hepburn. Oh, and Shirley Catlin… the  future UK politician Baroness Shirley Williams. None matched Taylor’s sheer determination. When told she was too short in her test (directed by  Fred Zinnemann!), Liz promised to put on three inches before shooting. And she did! 
  9. Dorothy McGuire,  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, 1945.     Elia Kazan’s directing  debut.  Fox bought Betty Smith’s book in 1943 for Alice Faye’s first straight role. She developed cold feet and Tierney was Katie Nolan – until pregnant.  Her daughter with dress designer  Oleg  Cassini was born  severely retarded – causing Tierney’s long battles with manic depression… the cause of her refusing so many movies.
  10. Betty Grable, The Lady in Ermine, 1947.    In the frame for the double role of Countess Angelina and the ghost of great-great-grandmother, Countess Francesca, were such LA royalty as Tierney, Irene Dunne, and Jeanette MacDonald. Head Fox Darryl Zanuck then imposed his studio’s current pin-up queen upon poor Ernst Lubitsch…The previous  Mother Wore Tightswas Betty’s favourite movie, this was her most hated. Well, of course, it was. Otto Preminger directed after the mid-shoot death of the great Lubitsch. 
  11. Olivia De Havilland, The Snake Pit, 1947.   Pregnant. Ancd so she missed the film – the role!  – making  13 states to change their mental health laws., Tragically, Tierney lived much of the story for real in her years of depression. She was not seen again on-screen until  1961 – in Advise and Consent, for her 1943  Laura director Otto Preminger.

  12. Anne Baxter, The Walls of Jericho, 1948.        
    Too much was already tumbling down around her… Suspended by Fox, Tierney explained all to the Los Angeles Times… “There is certainly nothing personal in the issue that has arisen…     I simply could not undertake the part… I did not believe it was right for me. I could not fathom the character of the girl although it was the lead in the picture. It was particularly difficult for me to refuse this role because John Stahl is the director and we have had such excellent association with Leave Her to Heaven. Nevertheless, I felt it would be a great mistake for me to appear in this new film.” –  a Kansas soap-opera, proving, said the New York Times, that Jericho, like Kansas, was generally flat.

  13. Jeanne Crain, The Fan, 1948.     Lady Windermere’s Fan, that is. By Oscar Wilde. Not that you’d know it from director-ogre Otto Preminger’s dullard take on Victorian London society manners and foibles. Crain wrote to both Preminger and head Fox Darryl Zanuck, asking tio replace the pregnant Tierney as her ladyship. Wilde’s wit shone brighter in versions made over the years in Argentina, Germany, Hollywood (via Ernst Lubitsch, 1925), Mexico, and, of course, the UK… in 1916 – despite Dorothy Parker being among the re-writers. “One of the few pictures I already disliked while making it, ” confessed Preminger in 1970.  “Whatever I did to that film was wrong.”   An ogre, maybe, but at least an honest one!
  14. Maureen O’Hara, The Forbidden Street (UK: Britannia Mews), 1948.     The previous year’s Ghost and Mrs Muir couple, Tierney and Rex Harrison churned into O’Hara and a peculiarly  (and so obviously) dubbed Dana Andrews (for the UK and Brtiish Commonwealth version). His dual role of both husbands  was the sore thumb of the  thriller.
  15. Betty Field, The Great Gatsby, 1948.   The problem was not Gatz (even though Alan Ladd replaced first choice Tyrone Power), but Daisy Buchanan…  First choice Tierney was considered too beautiful (hey, is this Hollywood or not?).  Producer Richard Maibaum (first of the future 007 screenwriters) chose Field. And Elliott Nugent replaced director John  Farrow – ironically, the father of the 1973 Daisy, Mia Farrow.
  16. Linda Darnell, A Letter To Three Wives, 1948.     Originally, Four  Wives…Too long, snapped head Fox Darryl Zanuck. Kill one wife!  (So Anne Baxter’s Martha never got Addie’s letter about running off with one of their spouses). Other potential wives were Tierney, Alice Faye, Dorothy McGuire, Maureen O’Hara, Gene Tierney. (Paramount publicist turned producer David F Friedman made a hardcore  version, Alexandra, with Rachel Summers (aka Ashley) in 1983).

  17. Hedy Lamarr,  Samson and Delilah, 1948.  
    Cinemperor Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan had been had Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins.   Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious.  He sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner”  from among… Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954), Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), Susan Hayward (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney… even such surprises as comical LucIlle Ball (!) and song ‘n’ dancer Betty Hutton.  Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is larger than the leading lady’s!”

  18. Jane Wyman, The Glass Menagerie, 1949. The first Tennessee Williams play to be filmed.  By Elia Kazan?   Not at all.  Irving Rapper got the gig, having moved up from, dialogue director to full-time helmer – and surviving three battles with the irascible Bette Davis. Crain and Gene Tierney) were  in the mix for the handicapped Laura, based on the playwright’s sister. Over the years she  has also been played by such actors as Calista Flockhart, Piper Laurie and Amanda Plummer.  Later films were way better, even those made in Bollywood and Iran.

  19. Lucia Bosè, Cronaca di un amore (UK: Chronicle of a Love; US: Story of a Love Affair), Italy, 1949.  For his first feature after seven shorts, future Italian maestro Michelangelo Antonioni  wanted to match his leading man, Massimo Girotti, with Tierney. But he was unknown and “she wanted the  moon!” Her delightful  substitute (Miss Italy 1947)  was 19 to Gene’s 30.

  20. Linda Darnell, The Secret of Convict Lake, 1951.  The bigger secret was that Fox had planned the Western for  Dana  Andrews and Linda Darnell, not  Tierney and Glenn Ford.  Quite a shock to realise any films were actually planned for the dead-weight Andrews.

  21. Ava Gardner, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1951.  Gene and Anne Francis were strong contenders for Cynthia Green.  Ernest Hemingway  told Ava he loathed the movie but loved her.  And the hyena.
  22. Grace Kelly, Mogambo, 1952.  No thank you, Tierney told MGM. She had no wish to take her two young daughters on lengthy locations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  23. Valerie Hobson, Monsieur Ripois, France-UK, 1953. Realisateur René Clémént’s charming movie became Hobson’s 50th and final film – on marrying UK politico John Profumo and we all know what happened next (the Profumo sex scandal of 1963). Tierney was simply not interested… She refused both it and the offered top billing above French heartthrob Gérard Philipe as the titular philanderer.
  24. Jean Simmons, The Egyptian, 1953.   Seen for the female lead, Merit, Tierney was given the lesser role of of the pharaoh Akhenaton’s nasty sister, Baketamon.  Marlon Brando was sued for $2m for quitting the film. He paid up by making (the much worse) Désirée. Or Daisy-Rae as he called the one that got away from Napoleon. And she was played by…  Simmons! 
  25. Maggie McNamara, Three Coins in the Fountain, 1953.  Noting the opportunity missed by Paramount with Roman  Holiday, Fox decided to shoot this Rome-com  in colour and, for the first time outside the US, in CinemaScope.  Tierney had been the earlier black-white choice for Maria. McNamara and, indeed. Louis Jourdan were totally miscast for their love story.
  26. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
  27. Olivia de Havilland, The Ambassador’s Daughter, 1955.   Writer-producer-director Norman Krasna first chose Shelley Winters to be in love with a young GI in France.  Then, Tierney was considered.  De Havilland  was a splendid substitute, light and funny for once, while poor John Forsythe seemed  quite lost as her guy.
  28. Ava Gardner, The Sun Also Rises, 1957. After the Hays Office censors stopped Fox filming the hedonistic Hemingway book in 1933,  Ann Harding picked up the rights and planed to produce a 1935 version and, of course, play Lady Brett Ashley.  Allegedly, Howard Hawks also considered Hardy for Brett  late 40s; he later chose Tierney – opposite Montgomery Clift as Jake.  It took Fox a quarter-century to finally make the film and even then, producer Darryl F Zanuck had to promise not to  use the word impotent. He did, anyway! 
  29. Joan Collins, The Wayward Bus, 1957. When Marilyn Monroe , so  cruelly scorned by her studio, astounded us in Bus Stop, Fox dusted down John Steinbeck’s busload of Chaucerian passengers to do the same for Jayne Mansfield. (Hah!). The main couple of the bus driver and his alcoholic wife, Alice (running a pitstop diner) went from the unlikely Franco-British Charles Boyer-Gertrude Lawrence to Marlon Brando-Jennifer Jones to Robert Mitchum-Susan Hayward to Richard Widmark-Gene Tierney to, finally, Rick Jason-Joan Collins.  Others announced for Alice, as producers kept changing, were Barbara Bel Geddes, Geraldine Page and  Shelley Winters.  Incidentally, Marilyn’s bus driver, Robert Bray, turned up here as a chopper pilot hovering  around  Joan Collins. (He then blew his career by refusing South Pacific).
  30. Jane Wyman, Holiday for Lovers, 1958.  The female roles seemed  jinxed.  Or was it just the lousy script ?  Tierney was set for Mary, wed to her waspish Laura co-star Clton Webb! – and taking their teenager daughters on a South American holiday. Then, Tierney had an emotional breakdown (and had to return to the Menninger Clinic in Topeka,  Texas). Joan Fontaine replaced her –  and had her own breakdown. Head Fox Darryl Zanuck was having similar trouble with one of the daughters when he went for a real, trouble-free pro and Wyman made her first films for three years.

  31. Lana Turner, Peyton Place, 1961.   Fox tried to find  her another comeback opportunity.
  32. Martha Hyer, Picture Mommy Dead, TV, 1966.   It was around the time of whatever happened to Bette Davis’  Baby Jane  and hush-hushing sweet Charlotte. Old ladies were in. (And cheap). Zsa Zsa Gabor was in;Merle Oberon and Gene Tierne, decidely not.  Hedy Lamarr was arrested for shoplifting. Hyer proved of double value by lending some of her valuable art coillection to add some class for the horrorfest.  Didn’t help!


























 Birth year: 1920Death year: 1991Other name: Casting Calls:  32