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Jean Peters (1926-2000)

 

  1. June Haver, I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now, 1946.    The  answer was Mark Stevens. The bigger question was - kissing who?  Certainly not Peters who  rejected this  Hollywood debut because the role made her look too ugly.  (Difficult).
  2. Anne Baxter, Yellow Sky, 1947.   A tomboy preferring jeans to gowns, Peters knew how to look after herself. She now refused, point-blank, to make this tacky Western because her (tomboy!) role of Mike was too sexy.  Er, Anne Baxter sexy?  
  3. Shirley Temple, Mr Belvedere Goes To College, 1948.     For Clifton Webb’s return as Mr B, Jean was set to be Ellen Baker.So was Jeanne Crain.
  4. Barbara Lawrence, The Street With No Name, 1948.     Almost an FBIrecruiting movie, it would hardly have improved her career. Nothing did until Viva Zapata!, 1952. Three years later, Jean retired on marrying tycoon Howard Hughes, January 12 1957.  After their 1971 divorce, she said: “My life with Howard Hughes was and shall remain a matter on which I will have no comment.” Not even to say how much she got for saying that - and sticking to it.
  5. Colleen Gray, Sand, 1948.     Another weak Western not made any stronger by Mark Stevens as the hero. No one in the  movie, man or beast, is called Sand… Three strikes and Peters was out.  Fox canned her, she went back to Ohio farm life until called back by Elia Kazan, no less,  for the wife of  Marlon Brando, no less, in  Viva Zapata! no less in  1951.  
  6. Betsy Drake, Dancing in the Dark, 1949.     After thoughts of Dick Haymes or Clifton Webb making a star of Betty Grable, the 1947 plan was John Payne as  the conceited movie idol turned  lowly talent scout who discovers… Peters. (Before Howard Hughes managed that!). Terrible film proving that only MGM could make musicals, not  Fox. 
  7. Gene Tierney, Way Of A Gaucho, 1952.     As if dropping Robert Mitchum wasn’t silly enough, Hollywood’sresident realisateur Jacques Tourneur (a director son of a director father) dumped his Anne of the Indies star, 1951, for Tierney.
  8. Mitzi Green, Bloodhounds of Broadway, 1952.    Peters was in, then out. Enter: Green, the second Mitzi of what Fox fearlessly called a musical.  Leading lady was Mitzi Gaynor.  She owned the hounds. Named Nip and Tiuck.   Madonna’s 1989 version was way better.
  9. Joanne Dru, Siege At Red River, 1953.    She tested for the Van Johnson Western about preventing hostiles getting hold of  the Gatling gun. Peters’ second husband, 1957-1971, was Howard Hughes, no less. Not that you knew it from her. “My life with  Howard Hughes,” she decreed in 1972, “was and shall remain a matter on which I will have no comment.”
  10. Suzy Parker, The Best of Everything, 1958.   What was supposed to be Jean Peters’ comeback and her fifth film for director Jean Negulesco became a third A-film for Suzy, the ex-mannquin. They weren’t called supermodels in the 50s.





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