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Tony Randall (1920-2004)

  1. Dean Martin, The Young Lions, 1957.     In a near re-run of pal Sinatra's From Here To Eternity comeback (minus the Oscar),  Martin's agent, Herman Citron, met with director Edward Dmytryk suggesting Dino should be the third lion opposite Marlon Brando and  Montgomery Clift (already replacing Don Murray with less  headlines). Only knowing Martin as Jerry Lewis’ organ-grinder, the director exclaimed:  “Good God no!” He then caught Randall in Oh, Men! Oh, Women! and said he'd go with Martin! Thus saving Dino's movie career after his solo debut flop, 10,000 Bedrooms
  2. Rock Hudson, Send No Flowers, 1964.     The third and last Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedy failed - obviously - as Hudson was not good as a "dying" hypochondriac...    Of course not. George Kimball had been specifically written for Randall, their foil in   the other two films.
  3. Peter Sellers, The World of Henry Orient, 1964.   Sellers replaced Randall as the celebrated pianist stalked by young, very young girl fans. Then, by some inexplicable reasoning, Randall replaced Sellers as the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, 1963. It was as if Randall wanted to prove  that anyone could do what Peter Sellers could do… and, naturally, proved the complete opposite.    Anyone could wear award-winning make-up - it was what was underneath it that counted. The  film was such an instant flop that  poor George Pal (who had previously directed Sellers in tom thumb, 1957) was never allowed to make another  movie.
  4. Ray Walston, Kiss Me Stupid, 1964.      Peter Sellers nearly died (eight times) following  a massive heart-attack and none of co-writer and director Billy Wilder's possible replacements (Tom Ewell, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, etc) were in  Sellers' league. Randall, alone, might have managed the tightrope of the cuckolded husband.
  5. Don Adams, Get Smart, TV, 1965-1970.   "Would you believe...?" Producer Daniel Melnick told wrtoters Mel Brooks and Buck Henry he wanted as a fusion of the #1 film franchises: 007 and Clouseau. And so Maxwell Smart was born, the dumbest spy until Johnny English. Orson Bean and Tony Randall were in the Wanted poster, but the scenarists prefered Tom Poston.   No, said NBC.  OK, said NBC - but it must be Don Adams. He signed a percentage deal and made a fortune.  Not as much as Jerry Seinfled, but then no one made as much as Jerry Seinfeld.
  6. David McCallum, Three Bites of the Apple, 1966.      Set for Tony in 1964, before the rise of the men from UNCLE.   McCallum was in four MGM releases that year. Italian pin-up Sylva Koscina was the apple. Cor!   (Oh c’mon, I had to say that).
  7. Jack Lemmon, The Odd Couple, 1968.     Having paid enough to Neil Simon for the rights, Paramount wanted low rent casting - Randall, Jack Klugman.   Production chief Robert Evans fought hard for Lemmon and Walter Matthau - too pricey. With Billy Wilder directing - even pricier. "So," says Evans, "Jack and Walter fucked Billy Wilder over and he was left out of the package." Randall   and Jack Klugman, became   the TV couple from 1970-74, and were still Felix and Oscar on-stage 20 years later.
  8. Paul Lynde, Charlotte’s Web, 1973.     Chosen to voice the rat Templeton without an audition. When Joseph Barbera realised it wasn't right voice, he   paid Tony off and hired the more waspish Lynde.


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