Alice Faye (1915-1998)
- Vivien Leigh, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
- Dorothy Lamour, Johnny Apollo, 1939. Faye and Linda Darnell were sideswiped by Lamour on loan from Paramount (“yeah you can have her if we can have Don Ameche”) as Lucky, the lounge singer, delivering much more than just ‘This is the Beginning of the End’ and ‘Dancin’ for Nickels and Dimes’ for the titular Tyrone Power.
- Betty Grable, Down Argentine Way, 1940. Alice’s appendicectomy meant stardom for Grable at Fox, after being dropped by Goldwyn, RKO and Paramount because this film supplied what her 27 others lacked - colour. Betty was Alice's sister in her next film, Tin Pan Alley, and they remained friends until Betty’s 1973 death.
- Carole Landis, Cadet Girl, 1940. She is not in the Army, just a singer between feuding brothers and their big bands. One is a West Point cadet. So, it should be Cadet’s Girl. As per usual at Fox, the role was aimed at Faye or Betty Grable.
- Gene Tierney, Belle Starr, 1941. Fox’s somewhat surprising first choice to be Starr, nee Shirley.
- Betty Grable, Song of the Islands, 1941. Once Faye and Joan Davis were bypassed, it was always going to be Grable as Eileen, on the tropical isle Ahmi-Oni. She fell for Victor Mature’s Irishman, looking and sounding as Irish as Cheetah.
- Rita Hayworth, My Gal Sal, 1941. With the arrival of Betty Grable and Hayworth, things were getting tough for Faye at Fox. And now pregnant, she missed the biopic about novelist Theodore Dreiser’s songwriter brother, Paul Dresser. (Yes, their surnames are different). What worried the censors was his love of “sex affairs.” Is there any other kind worth having?
- Betty Grable, Footlight Serenade, 1941. Faye was taking time out to have a baby with Phil Harris (a daughter, Alice Faye Harris, no less) and surrendered a second musical to the Grable torso. Grable’s partner in one number was the rarely seen Hermes Pan - Fred Astaire’s lookalike choreographer.
- Ginger Rogers, Roxie Hart, 1942. Aka Chicago! With Betty quickly eclipsing her, it was difficult to see who was least interested in her career - Alice or what she called Penitentiary Fox.
- Betty Grable, Springtime in the Rockies, 1942. Playing Vickie Lane was impossible. Faye was pregnant with her and Phil Harris’ first daughter, Alice Faye Harris… Phyllis Wanda followed two years later.
- Dorothy McGuire, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, 1944. Fox bought Betty Smith’s novel in 1943 for Faye’s first straight role, Katie Nolan. And then...
- Joan Blondell, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, 1945. … Fox changed its mind and suggested Faye play Aunt Sissy - either one being her first straight role. Even with the great stage-screen director Elia Kazan in charge, her ennui continued.
- June Haver, The Dolly Sisters, 1944. Fox wanted her as Betty Grable's sister - again. But she was so hurt at how her Fallen Angel role was re-edited to favour co-star Linda Darnell, she quit movies until 1962. ”
- Vivian Blaine, State Fair, 1944. Faye made a comeback (after a 17 year lay-off) in the 1962 re-make if the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical - as the mother of the character she refused in ’44! And she was still not happy. “I don’t know what happened to the picture business. I’m sorry I went back to find out.”
- Jeanne Crain, A Letter To Three Wives, 1948. Originally To 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 Faye, Dorothy McGuire, Maureen O’Hara, Gene Tierney.
- Virginia Mayo, Red Light, 1948. “I’m giving you a job to do, baby. Don’t ask questions and you won’t get hurt.” Faye and Shelley Winters were also in the frame for the girl caught up in George Raft’s (monotone) search-and-destroy mission for a particular Gideon Bible. Worked a treat with a little Mayo on the side.
- Betty Grable, Wabash Avenue, 1949. The Phil Harrises lost a co-starring chance when he came in one door to play her lover wannabe, and his wife, Alice Faye, slipped out a side door… replaced by the star of the original version, Coney Island, 1941. Betty Grable.
- 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, 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.