Gertrude Lawrence


  1. Jacqueline Logan, The King of Kings, 1926.  Naturally, Cecil B DeMille’s Male and Female star (and indeed, mistress) won Mary Magdalene opposite HB Warner’s Christ.  Except she finally turned it and CB down He checked   Vilma Banky, Gertrude Lawrence, Raquel Meller, Seena Owen – and told Logan to play Mary not as a a bad woman, but as one not knowing the difference between right and wrong.  Some other famous initials, DW Griffith, visited the shoot and CB invited him to shoot part of the Crucifixion sequence. No idea if DeMaestro kept those takes in the film, Knowing his reputation, probably not. 
  2. Bette Davis, It’s Love I’m After, 1937.  Or Gentlemen After Midnight when Ina Clairr and Gertrude Lawrence were dropped for not having the box-office appeal of Bette Davis. Although she’d never tried screwball comedy before. She survived this introduction – her third teaming with Leslie Howard, after Of Human Bondage and The Petrified Forest. 
  3. Bette Davis, All About Eve, 1949.
  4. Deborah Kerr, The King and I, 1955.       Broadway musical kings, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II created the huge hit for Lawrence. Part of her stage contract guaranted her the lead in any film version. Not so… Lawrence died from cancer while still playing Anna Leonowens on the Great White Way. (The real Anna was Boris Karloff’s maternal aunt).
  5. 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 Collins. (He then blew his career by refusing South Pacific).

 Birth year: 1898Death year: 1952Other name: Casting Calls:  5