Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993)
- Veronica Hurst, Laughter In Paradise, 1950. A theatre gig prevented Hepburn winning a decent little role. Al she had time for was to be a nightclub’s Cigarette Girl. Enough to get her noticed…
- Deborah Kerr, Quo Vadis, 1950. Director John Huston selected Gregory Peck for Marcus Vinicius and Elizabeth Taylor for Lygia. When Peck’s eye infection delayed shooting, the Lygia substitutes included Audrey, Kathleen Bryon,Janet Leigh.
- Joan Rice, Blackmailed, 1951. With the part of Alma still uncast, the future French auteur - Roger Vadim (Brigitte Bardot's future mentor-husband-director) and realisateur Marc Allegret - took off to a London nightclub. “There was this incredibly attractive young person introducing the cabaret,” recalled Vadim. “About 18, in a brief costume of sequins and ostrich feathers and with so much style I suggested we test her. She read for us and would've been good but the producer felt she would not photograph well and never make it in movies.” The producer with the typical British ignorance about women was Harold Huth.
- Nadia Gray, Valley of the Eagles, 1951. Director Terence Young's test proved she was not strapping enough for his heroine. Always impressed by his kindness, Audrey finally worked with Young, as Wait Until Dark's blind victim... 16 years on! They discovered that they had first met as young nurse (16) and wounded paratrooper in a Dutch hospital after the WWII battle of Arnhem,
- Pauline Stroud, Lady Godiva Rides Again, 1951. Too, er, sparse - naturally - for a beauty-contest winner flopping in showbiz. Pauline made three more films, only.
- Dorothy Tutin, The Beggar’s Opera, 1952. First Deanna Durbin in 1947, next Audrey was all but set for Polly Peacham when, look out ! - Laurence Olivier’s old MacHeath was back in town…
- Claire Bloom, Limelight, 1951. For what proved his last film made in America, Charles Chaplin saw the unknown Hepburn for his leading lady: ballerina Thereza. As he sailed to the UK for the world premiere, Chaplin received the news that he was banned from returning to the US - for being a Communist! The cinema’s finest star spent the rest of his life in Vevey, Switzerland.
- Eileen Moore, I Vinti (The Vanquished), Italy-France, 1953. For his third film, Italian maestro-to-be Michelangelo Antonioni collated three shorts based on true murders committed by post-war youth in France, Italy and the UK. The best was the Brit chapter, much of which (body found in a park, conceited hero, tennis match) led to Blow Up a dozen years later. Just as he lost Brigitte Bardot for the French tale, he couldn’t land Audrey - “unfortunately on her way to Hollywood.”Moore was the first wife (1954-1962) of UK star George Cole.
- Gloria Talbot, We’re No Angels, 1954. Change of Isabelle, daughter of Leo G Carroll and Joan Bennett in the well nigh perfect (originally French) comedy. About three cons escaping Devil’s Island: Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov. No matter, as Sabrina Hepburn got Bogie for a co-star that year.
- Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
- Jane Wyman, Miracle in the Rain, 1955. Producer Frank P Rosenberg got the rights to the Ben Hecht’s weepie back from Italian hands - with Audrey in mind for the lonely woman meeting a lonelier Van Johnson in a rainy New York. Trouble was, every producer had Audrey in mind.
- Anne Baxter, The Ten Commandments, 1955. Director CB DeMille prefered Baxter as Nefretiri because, he said being unusually polite, Hepburn was “too slender” - instead of saying, flat-chested. Wags called her Nefrenotiti. CB was said to have changed Nefretiti’s name to avoid such boob jokes. Not at all! Rameses II’s queen was Nefretiri. While Nefretiti was the queen of Amenhotep IV (aka Akhenaten) 60 year earlier. Both names mean Beautiful in Egyptian.
- Ava Gardner, The Little Hut, 1956. After an aborted UK version for Zsa Zsa Gabor and the third of her nine husbands, George Sanders, the first US idea was another married couple: Hepburn and Mel Ferrer. Plus David Niven, who stayed aboard for the MGM version - with Ava Gardner, Stewart Granger. All three are marooned on a desert island. Pause for sniggers.
- Mitzi Gaynor, South Pacific, 1957. “Can't sing? Nor can I!!” For his Nellie Forbush from Little Rock, Josh Logan saw 'em all: Audrey, Doris Day, Ginger Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor. The original Nellie, Mary Martin, was thought too old at 45 to repeat her Broadway role in the Pulitzer Prize-winner.Stage-screen director Joshua Logan chose Mitzi after also considering Doris Day, Judy Garland, Patti Page, Ginger Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor.
- Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957. Refused, the legend goes, because producer-director Otto Preminger would not consider husband Mel Ferrer as the Dauphin - a surprising cameo from Richard Widmark.
Miiko Taka, Sayonara, 1957. “I'd be laughed at playing an Asian” - even one becoming Brando's lover. After searching for a replacement out East, non-actress Miiko (Seattle-born Betty Ishimoto) was found working at a travel agency... in Los Angeles.
- Ava Gardner, The Sun Also Rises,1957. “I do not want to play a nymphomaniac,” said Audrey about Brett Ashley. “I guess you'll do,” Hemingway told Ava. ”You've got some vestige of class.”
- Kim Novak, Vertigo, 1957. In the summer of ’56, when Lana Turner proved too pricey and Vera Miles too pregnant, Hepburn made it known she was very keen on the dual role of Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton. But she didn’t fit the bill for Alfred Hitchcock s most personal film (the reason his wife hated it). In the 2012 Sight & Sound critics’ poll, Vertigo replaced Citizen Kane as the greatest film of all time. Hitch would not agree. He felt Novak was all wrong and blamed its failure on Stewart being too old - and never worked with him again.
- Leslie Caron, Gigi, 1957. The French author Colette and the musical’s lyricist Allan Jay Lerner both wanted Hepburn as the titular mistress-in-training. (Shocking!). She was too busy. Because of playing the same Gigi on Broadway 219 times - leading to her movie breakthrough, Roman Holiday.
- Marilyn Monroe, Some Like It Hot, 1958. Can’t sing, Part Two... The friendship of two jazzmen hiding from The Mob in a girls’ band was the story.“Which made Billy [Wilder] think,” said one of his stars, Tony Curtis. “If Sugar was the weakest part, he needed to give it the strongest casting.” Audrey was no jazz chanteuse. Elizabeth Taylor was a sudden widow. What about Marilyn - now ya talking!! “She looked on the screen,” said Wilder, “as if you could reach out and touch her.”
- Ingrid Bergman, The Inn of Sixth Happiness, 1958. More correct casting for the tiny Welsh missionary Gladys Alyward, than “the Swedish ox.”
- Jean Seberg, Bonjour tristesse, 1958. Otto Preminger, producer-directing, wanted Cary Grant and Audrey as the father and daughter in French girl novelist FrançoiseSagan's second book. Five years later, the couple were lovers in Charade.
- Christine Carère, A Certain Smile, 1958. Françoise Sagan's next book did notappeal and director Jean Negulesco’s “newAudrey” later wed controversial auto-legend John DeLaurean.
- Leslie Caron, Gigi, 1958. Audrey played it on Broadway and Leslie in London. Caron was cheaper...
- Millie Perkins, The Diary of Anne Frank, 1958. The poor, teenage Holocaust heroine deserved better than this… Director George Stevens’ collected papers reported a major search for a “new face” for Anne. More than 2,000 girls were seen in Europe (particularly Amsterdam where she lived) and Israel… such as Oshra El Kayam, Karin Wolfe. Plus US actresses Perkins, Janet Margolin, , Marianne Sarstadt, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood - and Broadway’s Anne, Susan Strasberg. Anne’s father, Otto Frank suggested Audrey. Born just 39 days before Anne, Hepburn was now too old at 29 to play a teenager. Also, she had no wish to relive the the Nazi horrors she had seen and heard growing up in Holland. "Impossible to even consider the role.... it would cause a breakdown." She actually preferred being directed (badly) by husband Mel Ferrer in Green Mansions.
- Deborah Kerr, Beloved Infidel, 1958. For Sheila Graham’s book detailing her love affair with novelist F Scott Fitzgerald, producer Jerry Wald first planned Mel Ferrer and his wife, Audrey Hepburn, for the Hollywood couple. Director Henry King chose Gregory Peck and Kerr… who tried to rewrite her part, despite Graham having lived it and written all about it in her autobiography!
- Leslie Caron, Fanny, 1960. Another French classic… She passed. Wisely. In the Marcel Pagnol stage, screen, even musical classic, Fanny - the Marseilles beauty - was 18. Audrey was 31. (Caron was 30).
- Geraldine Page, Summer and Smoke, 1961. And back to... too young! Playwright celebre Tennessee Williams and producer Hal Wallis visited her Frascati wine country farmhouse, near Anzio, had dinner consisting of just one large fish, no dressing, no dessert, no coffee and... no deal. At 33, she felt unable to match Geraldine Page, 38, who created what Williams always called “the best female portrait I've ever drawn in a play.”
Rita Tushingham, A Taste of Honey, 1961. Except the whole point about Shelagh Delaney's heroine was that Jo was extremely plain.
- Natalie Wood, West Side Story, 1961. Pregnant with Sean H Ferrer. Never mind, they would find another musical that she should not make!
- Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker, 1962. With five simultaneous Broadway hits, Arthur Penn was “feeling very bullish” when United Artists said he could have the moon and Audrey - or even Liz Taylor. “Not a chance,” said Penn, OK, said UA, with Audrey (or Liz Taylor) you get $2m budget; without, $500,000. He kept the faith with his Broadway stars. And they both copped Oscars.
- Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra,1962.
- Capucine, The 7th Dawn, 1963. Future 007 director Lewis Gilbert was more excited by the stars than the script - William Holden and his previous (twice) co-star and ex-lover, Audrey Hepburn. When they lost Audrey,they also lost Bill. “I will look stupid” working a second consecutive time with the “not very good”Capucine. He stayed because he owed his career to the producer; as an agent, Charles Feldman had got him Golden Boy, 1939.
- Jean Simmons, Désirée, 1964. Or Daisy Rae as Marlon Brando’s Napoleon insisted on calling her. The original Darryl Zanuck plan was Noel Coward directing emperor Brando with Hepburn as the fiancee that got away. She wed Count Bernadotte. They did well for themselves. Napoleon made them King and Queen of Sweden and Norway.
- Leslie Caron, Father Goose, 1965. Cary Grant's penultimate movie - but his favourite actress was literally resting betwixt My Fair Lady and (the awful) How To Steal A Million.
- Julie Christie, Darling, 1965. The money-men's idea. Probably the same money-men who would have rejected Audrey in the early ‘50s!
- Geraldine Chaplin, Doctor Zhivago, 1965. Epic director David Lean hungered for Audrey, then 36, to go from teenage to mature mother of two as Tonya. Producer Carlo Ponti suggested he test Chaplin, 20, looking 16. “Did it like a bird!” a surprised Lean wrote her mother, Oona Chaplin.
- Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music, 1965. That's what happens when you steal My Fair Lady from Julie Andrews... you lose the biggest filmusical of the century.
Julie Andrews, Hawaii, 1966. Gentleman director Fred Zinnemann planned what screenwriter Daniel Taradash felt was impossible - “shoot two pictures without pause for 250 days,” of the entire James A Michener novel. Cutting it back to one, left Fred too exhausted to continue into a second. His Hepburn-Rock Hudson couple became George Roy Hill's Andrews-Richard Harris. During 1985 in France, realisateur Claude Berri managed the impossible, shooting Marcel Pagnol's Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources over 12 months.
- Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967. “I probably hold the distinction of being one movie star who, by all laws of logic, should never have made it,” said Audrey. “At each stage of my career, I lacked the experience.”
- Françoise Dorléac, Les demoiselles de Rochefort, France, 1967. Cineaste Jacques Demy dreamt of Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot as the musical sisters.
- Vanessa Redgrave, Isadora, 1967. Before it reached the safe hands of UK director Karel Reisz, the first Isa-ideas were Audrey Hepburn and even Kim Novak.
- Catherine Deneuve, Mayerling, 1967. It had been a package for Audrey and husband Mel Ferrer, after they played the tragic Austrian lovers Baroness Marie Alexandrine von Vetsera and Crown Prince Rudolf in a 1957 TVersion. They would have been an improvement on the chemical imbalance of Deneuve-Omar Sharif, dead long before they died on-screen. Not unlike the Ferrers’ marriage - all over one year later.
- Sandy Dennis, Sweet November, 1968. Producer Elliott Kastner's first choice - of course! - for Sara.
- Petula Clark, Goodbye Mr Chips, 1969. Cary Grant- Hepburn begat Rex Harrison-Samantha Eggar, who begat Burton-Julie Andrews, who begat Burton-Lee Remick, who begat Burton-Petula Clark... until Burton blew up about working with a mere singer. So he begat Peter O'Toole.
- Janet Suzman, Nicholas and Alexandra, 1970. Wed by now to Italian psychiatrist Dr Andrea Mario Dotti, little could tempt her away from her 16th Century farmhouse overlooking lake Geneva in the Swiss village of Tolochenaz.
- Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist, 1973.
- Liv Ullman,40Carats, 1973. Intrigued, as her middle-aged woman’s passion would be for EdwardAlbert,son of the 1953 Roman Holiday news-photographer, Eddie Albert.
Jeanne Moreau, Lumiere, France, 1975. “I had not wanted to be in the film,” admitted La Moreau about her writer-directing debut. “Audrey Hepburn was committed to Robin and Marian and the producer told me: You must do it.”
- Liv Ullmann, A Bridge Too Far, 1976.
Her agent asked too much (for a cameo). But the budget was gone. Mostly on Robert Redford. Would have been better if director Richard Attenborough had called Hepburn, himself… Except he was busy enough seducing a dozen other A-Listers into WWII cameos, from Gene Hackman to Laurence Olivier. Darling Dickie wanted Hepburn because she’d been there… The Anglo-Dutch Hepburn was sent from the UK to Holland for safety when WWII began - only to be trapped there when Germany invaded the supposedly neutral country. During Operation Market Garden, Hepburn (at 15) ran errands and messages for the Allies fighting in her mother's home town of Arnhem… and might wel have run into her offered role of Kate Ter Horst.
- Anne Bancroft, The Turning Point, 1977. “The one film that got away from me.” Original idea was Audrey as the ballerina and Grace Kelly, back on-screen, as her jealous old friend.
- Liv Ullman, Richard's Things, 1981. The script was returned “promptly and politely” toFrederic Rapahel, scenarist ofher Two For The Road, 1967. “I can’t begin to think of playing a woman who fell in love withanotherwoman.”D’oh - what about The Children's Hour in 1961?
- Meryl Streep, Out of Africa, 1985. Only ever offered to the Triple A List -Garbo, Hepburn, Streep - as directors changed over the years from Orson Welles to David Lean to Nicolas Roeg to ... and give the man an Oscar... Sydney Pollack.
- Ann-Margret, Grumpy Old Men, 1994. “The older you get, the more you have to resign yourself to not working or taking inconsequential or frightening parts.” She died before the production began.