Ina Claire

  1. Joan Blondell,  The Greeks Had A Word For Them,  1932. “He grabbed me in an elevator:  I want to talk to you! You’re my favourite actress and I was just thinking about a great movie for you.”  She liked producer Samuel Goldwyn’s enthusiasm, signed for a year – then saw him hunt for a dizzier bombshell.  Frightened of Jean Harlow,  he captured Carole Lombard – ill  in  the second week and replaced by Blondell.  Ina (“quite stunning in personality, grace, heart and wit,” recalled Laurence Olivier) took over Joan’s tinier role and paid $10,000 to get out of Sam’s clutches. “A small price to be rid of  him.”  She did better in talkies  than her second husband. John Gilbert.
  2. Verre Teasdale,  I Take This  Woman,   1938.    aka I Re-Take This Woman as the MGMess went through three directors – Josef von Sternberg, Frank Borzage, WS Van Dyke – and, therefore, continual cast changes.   For example,  Teasdale re-shot all of Claire’s work as Madame Maresca (Gertrude Lawrence had also been shortl-listed) …  during the  18 months of  moulding  an  Metro star out of the woman who stirred LB Mayer’s hypocritical gonads with her 1933 Extase nudity. Hedy Lamarr
  3. Isabel Jeans, Gigi, 1957.   The most difficult role to cast was not Gigi, Gaston or  Honore, but Aunt Alicia… Claire refused to step out of retirement, Gladys Cooper simply passed and Irene Dunne preferred her new life as a UNO delegate. Fortunately, the film’s production designer Cecil Beaton knew all the old ladies – and suggested Jeans. The MGMusical won all nine of its Oscar nominations! 


 Birth year: 1892Death year: 1985Other name: Casting Calls:  3