- Diane Dick, Annie Get Your Gun, 1949. At two years old, Liza had been her mother Judy Garland’s daughter at the end of In The Good Old Summertime, directed by dad, Vincente Minnelli, in 1948. So at three, she was set for Annie Oakley’s baby sister until the mighty MGMusical imploded when Judy was sacked.
- Michelle Lee, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, 1967. Liza talked with the producers. And walked.
- Patty Duke, Valley Of The Dolls, 1967. The 30s-50s’ actress Jacqueline Susan wanted both Judy and Liza in the film of her best-seller. Judy as Helen Lawson, based on Ethel Merman - and Liza as Neeley, based… on Judy! Indeed, ‘twas her pills and booze that had Judy fired and replaced by Susan Hayward.
- Mia Farrow, The Great Gatsby, 1973. Passed on Daisy Buchanan. Quite right, too. The other possibilities included Candice Bergen, Lois Chiles, Julie Christie, Faye Dunaway, Ali McGraw, Katharine Ross, Cybill Shepherd, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. (Chiles won the other girl: Jordan Baker).
- Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.
- Barbara Harris, Family Plot, 1975. Barbara Harris, Family Plot, 1975. Goldie Hawn and - surprise, surprise! - even Beverly Sills, “America’s Queen of Opera,” were in Alfred Hitchcock’s frame for Blanche in, alas, his final film. He acyually selected Minnelli and Al Pacino… too pricey. Hitch then fell for Harris, a delightful actress he had tried to hire in the past. Hitch was prepping The Short Night when he died, at age 80, on April 29, 1980.
- Barbra Streisand, A Star Is Born, 1976. Cher, Helen Reddy, Diana Ross were in the mix for Mrs Norman Maine - er, Mrs John Norman Howard. Then again, which hot singer hadn’t been during the 70s.
- Susan Sarandon, Pretty Baby, 1977. The rôle was horrendous - a prostitute allowing her 12-year-old daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light Storyville district of New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 28 possible little Violets - and another 15 actresses for her mother: Minnelli, Candice Bergen, Cher, Glenn Close (passed), Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett (passed), Jane Fonda with Jodie Foster as her daughter), Goldie Hawn (preferred Foul Play), Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Cybil Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver. Malle and Sarandon became lovers and also made Atlantic City together in 1980… the year he married Bergen until his 1995 death.
- Margot Kidder, Superman, 1978.
- Isabelle Huppert, Camille, 1980. After Cabaret, Italian stage-screen director Franco Zeffirelli met Liza in New York in 1973 about a musical Much Ado About Nothing (good subtitle for her career). And he kept falling back to his Camille notion. Not the Garboesque romantic heroine, more of a turn of the century woman of the night, less courtesan than (surprise, surprise) cabaret singer. Liza loved it, made wardrobe and other tests until they both refused producer Alberto Grimaldi's request for “a red-light movie.” The project passed to Gaumont, director Mauro Bolognini and Isabelle.
- Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983. In all, 52 actresses were considered, seen, or tested for Sarah Connor. James Cameron created her for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… Glenn Close won - her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - just as Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no. The other 46 ladies were: Liza, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Angelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Madonna, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhea Perlman(!), Michelle Pfeiffer, Gilda Radner(!), Deborah Raffin, Miranda Richardson, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis). Ten years later (after T2), Linda gave birth to Cameron’s daughter and Josephine’s parents wed in 1997… for two years.
- Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1984. Rumours insist that Liza tested for Sergio Leone - as did Claudia Cardinale and Geena Davis (!).
- Anjelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor, 1984. “So let’s do it. Right here. On the Oriental. With all the lights on.” Maerose Prizzi knew what she wanted, where and when from her Family’s hit man, Jack Nicholson - the unlikeliest Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan. Before realising his daughter was Oscar-winning perfection, director John Huston looked at some 19 potential Maeroses. From the sublime Minnelli, Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer (been there, done that and got the Married To The Mob and Scarface t-shirts), Debra Winger… to the ridiculous: Geena Davis, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Emma Thompson, Sela Ward, Debra Winger… and the damn stupid: Linda Blair, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Lebrock, Heather Locklear, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ally Sheedy.
- Marushka Detmers, Hanna's War, 1988. Liza was typically chutzpah from Cannon Films’s Goland and Globus for the true story of the Jewish WWII heroine Hanna Senesh... They were also known as the Nosh Brothers - of whom it was said: “If Sam Goldwyn were alive, he’d turn over in his grave.”
- Lorraine Bracco, Sing, 1988. Liza passed on the teacher involved with a high school performing competition.
- Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Bette Midler, Seinfeld, TV, 1995. “We weren’t yet the mega-hit,” recalled scenarist Carol Leifer on the show’s 25th birthday in 2014. “We still had to fight for some things… like casting the part for the Broadway star in The Understudy. I co-wrote that episode [the sixth season finale] with Marjorie Gross, who has since, sadly, passed way. Bette did it, basically, as something of a favor to Marjorie... In retrospect now, what actress wouldn’t want to be immortalised in a Seinfeld episode? I remember also speaking with Liza Minnelli to do it -she passed. She didn’t think the part was big enough.” Hah!
- Madonna, Evita, 1996. Rebuffed by Barbra Streisand, Ken Russell was so impressed with Liza’s 1982 test that he refused to direct the film without her.
- Beatrice Dalle, La Belle Histoire, France, 1991. Two simultaneous plots. Neither one worked. Obviously not. Both were signed: Claude Lelouch.
- Renee Zellweger, Chicago, 2001.
- Queren Latifah, Chicago, 2001.