George Segal

1. – Rod Steiger, No Way To Treat   A Lady, 1967.      With his Oscar behind him, Steiger simply swopped roles, becoming the gay serial killer,   and leaving the cop to George…   “Doesn’t mean you’re   a bad person.”

2. – Tony Bill, Ice Station Zebra, 1967.      Hit book – by best-selling Alistair MacLean. Decent cast: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patitck McGoohan, Jim Brown. Lousy film. “So flat and conventional,” said Chicago critic Robert Ebert, “that its three moments of interest are an embarrassment.”  By George, Segal had a lucky escape.

3. – Charles Bronson, Le passager de la pluie (US: Rider on the Rain), France, 1969.      Moral: from a character heavy, a star is born…   Segal was the first target for veteran French réalisateur René Clement for Harry Dobbs. Not a great or important film – except for inspiring Jim Morrison to write Riders on the Storm for his band, The Doors, in 1971.

4. – Zalman King, The Ski Bum, 1971.     “I met Jean Seberg and her husband Romain Gary, who wrote the book,” Segal told me in London.    “And the two words Ski Bum were mentioned, but that’s all I know about it.”

5.  –  Bo Svenson, The Great Waldo Pepper, 1973.  Segal, Jack Nicholson and Sam Waterston were possibles for Axel Olsson, Robert Redford’s post WWi barnstorming stunt pilot rival The Butch & Sundance director George Roy Hill chose 1920 faces  over acting experience.  “Which may have been a huge mistake.”  Robert Redford did his own flying circus wing-walking. Not Svenson. Not even when Hill threatened to fire him.Redford sensed failure in the air. Well, of course. No Newman!

6. – Gene Hackman, Lucky Lady, 1975.       More like lucky Segal! Hackman’s famous agent, Sue Mengers, said it would have been almost obscene not to accept the amount of money on the table – between $1.25m and $1.50m. Hackman, Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli said it was the toughest film they’d ever made. “And,” moaned Liza, “it went nowhere.”

7. – Ugo Tognazzi, L’Anatra all’arancia/Duck In Orange Sauce, Italy 1975.       Wise to steer clear of Monica Vitti and director Luciano Salce’s Italianisation of a West End play, The Secretary Bird, 1968, by a British Prime Minister’s brother, William Douglas Home.


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* The real hero of The Front, 1976, was  not Woody Allen but a combination of several names on the 1950s’ Hollywood Blacklist of screen-writers. And despite their resemblance, Walter Bernstein swore that he never wrote it  for Woody – it was  flexible script, until a star was locked.  As much  for George Segal as for Warren Beatty. [Illustration by Graham Marsh, 1976]


8. – Woody Allen, The Front, 1976.      Various  names were tossed around until the once  blacklisted   director Martin Ritt had the inspired idea of calling upon Woody… to  be the front for a  blacklisted Hollywood scenarist.

9. – Louise Fletcher,  The Exorcist  II: The Heretic1976.

10 – Jack Nicholson, Goin’ South, 1978.      In 1970, Paramount was voting Segal and Candice Bergen. Nicholson suggested Jane Fonda and himself as the odd Western couple (she saves him from the gallows by marrying him). By ’77, the studio signed Jack to star and direct at John Wayne’s old Durango set known as La Tierrra del Cine. Clint Eastwood advised: “Get twice as much sleep as everyone else on the movie.” Not even Clint could have saved this mess.


11 – Roy Scheider, All That Jazz, 1979.      When director Bob Fosse was convinced (by his health) not to try and play his screen self, Broadway choreographer Joe Gideon was chased and/or avoided by… Segal, Alan Alda, Alan Bates (“too British,” said Fosse), Warren Beatty (keen, but Gideon must not die at the end!), Robert Blake, Richard Dreyfuss (“afraid of the dancing”), Elliott Gould, Gene Hackman, Jack Lemmon (“too old”), Paul Newman (“Dumb of me… a terrible oversight”), Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Jon Voight. Scheider just grabbed it. “Outrageous, assaulting, melodramatic, very funny, stupid, silly, simplistic, vulgar – a wonderful movie!” Exactly.

12 – Elliott Gould, The Lady Vanishes, 1979.      Hammer’s last film was warmed-over Hitchcock. With, as per the old Bray Studios’ ancient tradition, any US lead. Any US lead. Cheap, that is.

13 – Dudley Moore, Ten, 1979.

14 – John Belushi, Continental Divide, 1981.     Steven Spielberg adored the Tracy/Hepburn unlikely romcoms. Now he’d found his own. Except he chickened out when he couldn’t unearth a new Spence/Kate. He remained producer and thought the no-nonsense journo hero (based on Chicago Sun Times columnist Mike Royko) was perfect for… Segal, Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss (aka Spielberg’s Tracy!), Peter Falk, Dustin Hoffman. Then, Belushi, the ruination of Spielberg’s 1941, decided he could go straight. Spielberg believed him. And stuck him on poor UK director Michael Apted. Huge error!

15 – Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie, 1982.

16 – John Getz, Curly Sue, 1990.     After Kevin Spacey dropped out for a stage gig, William Atherton, George Clooney, Griffin Dunne, George Segal all passed on being Kelly Lynch’s snotty boyfriend.  Atherton was fed up playing schmucks,  Clooney was unknown (four years away from ER),   Dunne was making My Girl and Segal found Walker was too much like his Albert in Look Who’s Talking.   That’s how John Getz parts… 129 in 54 years.


 Birth year: 1934Death year: 2021Other name: Casting Calls:  16