- Leslie Caron, Daddy Long Legs, 1955. The word was good about the Actors Studio’s hot newcomer but she was too honest and rejected all offers, including a chance to dance with Fred Astaire because... “I’d been developing my inner concentration and was able to release emotions more readily but I was still too shy and frightened and inexperienced to be able to give a relaxed performance.”
- Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause, 1955. Baker, Patricia (later Pat) Crowley, Peggy Ann Garner, Jayne Mansfield, Maureen O’Brien, Debbie Reynolds, Lois Smith, Susan Strasberg were also in the Judy mix. - only Baker was recommended by James Dean and Elia Kazan. She tested for Nicholas Ray and then her husband, Jack Garfein, ordered her back to New York… knowing Ray tested Mansfield and Wood in bed. Baker later co-starred with Dean in Giant, the delay of which, due to Elizabeth Taylor’s pregnancy, made it possible for Dean to play rebellious Jim Stark.
- Fran Bennett, Giant, 1955.
- Kim Novak, Picnic, 1956. “Wonderful chemistry,” said writer Daniel Taradash about Baker’s test with Paul Newman. Except Josh Logan made the movie.
- Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve, 1957. “After Baby Doll, all Warners wanted was an endless series of cheap imitations.” The studio refused to loan her to Fox when she refused three Erskine Caldwell tales of “white trash obliged to exchange sexual favours for the necessities of life.”
- Dorothy Malone, Too Much, Too Soon, 1957. “I was always on suspension. It came to a head when I was asked to play Diana Barrymore. First line of the script read: ‘I know that I'm a nymphomaniac.’ And it got worse.” No more so than her all her 60s Italian sex-dramas: The Sweet Body of Deborah, Orgasmo, etc.
- Maria Schell, The Brothers Karamazov, 1957. Poor Dostoyevsky must have been turning in his grave. What a hopeless mess MGM and director Richard Brooks made of his novel. With a wooden Yul Brynner, a hammy Lee J Cobb and a most unerotic Maria Schell as sexy Grushenka - the role craved by Baker and, of course, poor Marilyn Monroe. “I’m still kicking myself after all these years," said Baker. " Warner was going to loan me to MGM for two movies... “
- Elizabeth Taylor, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, 1957. “... but they wanted to keep all the money. So I said: ‘The hell with you!’ Which was stupid.” Also in the MGMix: Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner.
- Haya Harareet, Ben-Hur, 1958. For Esther in the MGMighty $5m epic re-make, director William Wyler (one of the original’s 1924 crew) also looked at Pier Angeli, Ava Gardner - and from another epic, Giant, Baker and Carolyn Craig.
- Janette Scott, The Devil's Disciple, 1959. Burt Lancaster’s combine increased its offer to $150,000, but Warners was still into punishing her for not turning nympho.
Vera Miles, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962. Now Paramount started laying down the lore. “The public expects a certain image of you and a John Ford Western is not it.”
- Susannah York, Sands of the Kalahari, 1965. Welsh star and producer Stanley Baker flirted with his namesake (and Kirk Douglas) after his pals, the Burtons, proved too pricey.
- Katharine Ross, The Graduate, 1967. Broadway’s Mike Nichols came to town and saw, tested, auditioned almost every babe of the correct age for Mrs Robinson’s daughter. From Baby Doll to Lolita, by way of Saint Joan and The Flying Nun Sally Field… Baker (her Cartpetbaggers co-star, George Peppard, was seen for the title role), Ann-Margret, Elizabeth Ashley, Candice Bergen, Patty Duke, Jane Fonda, Sue Lyon, Carol Lynley, Hayley Mills, Yvette Mimieux, Suzanne Pleshette, Lee Remick, Jean Seberg, Pamela Tiffin, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. Having played Games with her that year, Simone Signoret recommended Ross to Nichols.
- Ellen Burstyn, Tropic of Cancer, 1970. Tycoon Joe Levine’s idea after his ’n’ her’s dismal Harlow. “You don’t have the guts to make Cancer,” Henry Miller told Paramount production chief Bob Evans. He got Joseph Strick to prove Miller wrong and Paramount “pulled it after one theatre. Ellen Burstyn had her pussy showing, lice in her pussy, open legs. [sic] So when it came to Last Tango, they turned it down.”
- Lesley Ann Warren, 79 Park Avenue, TV, 1977. Warren garnered a Golden Globe nod as Harold Robbins’ hooker turned madame - first talked of for Carroll in ’64.