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Lee Remick (1935-1991)


  1. Dina Merrill, Desk Set, 1956.    Impressed by the young Remick in her film debut, A Face in the Crowd, 1956, Katharine Hepburn invited her home to discuss joining her and Spencer Tracy in the eighth of their nine film (first in colour). Tracy was against the plan. “Not good enough for you,”he told her. He wuz right! Remick took his counsel and Merrill’s debut went un-noticed. Remick’s second outing was the far stronger Long, Hot Summer with another stellar couple:  Mr and Mrs Paul Newman. Hepburn got her way about Remick by playing her mother  in A Delicate Balance in 1973.
  2. Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957.    Although a trifle old at 22 for the 19-year-old Maid of Orleans, the tyrannical producer-director-ogre  Otto Preminger was intrigued by Act    ors Studio find. Instead of Joan, she made her movie debutthat same year in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd, Preminger also considered such unlikely Joans as Ursula Andress, Julie Andrews, Anne Bancroft, Claire Bloom, Carol Burnett, Joan Collins, Angie Dickinson, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore, Kim Novak (from Otto’s Man With The Golden Arm, 1955), Debbie Reynolds, Maggie Smith, Liz Taylor and…Mamie Van Doren!
  3. Vera Miles, Jovanka e le altre (US: Five  Branded Women, Italy-US, 1959.      With their heads shaved for sleeping with German soldiers during WWII, five Yugoslav women then bravely joined the very partisans who humiliated them. Remick passed.  And that’s why Miles had to wear a wig in her next film.  Psycho. Others potential heroines were: Claire Bloom, Ava Gardner, Julie Harris,  Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Nichols.
  4. Natalie Wood, Splendour In The Grass, 1961.    Director Elia Kazan had already decided on his Bud, when catching Warren Beatty ina True Story TV episode - and wanted Natalie Wood as the virginal Deanie.However, she wasa bad girl... suspended by Warners and said to be all washed up. Kazan then turned to Remick, his find for A Face in the Crowd and Wild River. Lee, however,was pregnant with her first child: Matt Colleran.Suddenly, Natalie was deemed to begood again!
  5. Kathryn Grant, Anatomy Of A Murder, 1959.      Director Otto Preminger promoted Lee after his row with Lana Turner. And so, Grant (the second and final Mrs Bing Crosby) supplied the crucial evidence to enable James Stewart to win the case.

  6. Janet Leigh, Psycho,1960.   
    "It was a big joke," Hitchcock told BBC’s Monitor in 1964."I was horrified to find some people took it seriously." Aided by his wife, Alma, Hitch took his time selecting his most famous murder victim, Marion Crane.   Angie Dickinson, Martha Hyer, Shirley Jones, Hope Lange, Piper Laurie, Lee Remick, Eva Marie Saint (from his previous North By North West) and Lana Turner all missed the most infamous shower scene of 78 camera angles and 52 cuts in its three minutes, shot during December 17-23, 1959, with Leigh and body double Marli Renfro. “Just 52 pieces of film stuck together,” said Hitchcock. Dickinson had her own big shower moment 19 years later in Dressed To Kill.  Of course she did - her director was the infernal Hitch copier, Brian De Palma. Which is why he also also used a body double… and then made a film, called just that. Alexandre O Philippe made a better one, 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, 2016, telling us all we ever wanted to know about what made Jane Leigh take baths for the rest of her life. As to ace credits designer Saul Bass actually directing the sequence, that’s a whole other story. Leigh said he didn’t.  He told me he did!
  7. Doris Day, Move Over Darling, 1963.       Marilyn Monroe was "tickled" when co-star pal Dean Martin refused to work with Remick - offered $35,000 to replace the sacked Marilyn in what started out, prophetically, as Something's Got To Give.Legendary director John Ford always said Remick was sexier thanMonroe "anda much better actress to boot."
  8. Tippi Hedern, Marnie, 1963.     When it proved (royally, politically) impossible for Grace Kelly to return to the screen as, of all  things for a serene princess to play, a compulsive (and frigid) thief,  Alfred Hitchcock cast a wider net.  He totally engulfed the unknown Claire Griswold (Mrs Sydney Pollack)… then, the  British  Susan Hampshire,   his contractee Miles, Remick and Eva Marie Saint - his Eve Kendall in North By Northwest. 1958.
  9. Natalie Wood, The Great Race, 1964.      Director Blake Edwards'  first choice, Jane Fonda, was shooting a better comedy, Cat Ballou. Second notion Remick was committed to Broadway. Wood accepted the suffragette Maggie DuBois while Edwards wanted Patty Duke or Elizabeth Hartman and did not take kindly to the diva-ish Wood. He got his revenge during the largest ever custard pie scene (4,000 pies over five days), hurling them with relish in her face!
  10. Carroll Baker, Harlow,1965.      When the project was at Fox in 1958 was the first time Fox tried replace Monroe with Remick - originally hyped as America's Bardot. "But really ahousewife, whois,incidentally, an actress."Shepassedher nextoffertothe otherscreen Harlow...

  11. Carol Lynley, Bunny Lake Is Missing, 1965.      Apparently one film with the often fierce director Otto Preminger was enough.
  12. Angie Dickinson, Point Blank, 1966.      Lee missed out on the most memorable Chris in Hollywood movies since Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven, 1960.  Alexandra Stewart and Joanne Woodward also refused (er, dare I say it; shucks, yes!) point blank
  13. 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… Remick, Ann-Margret, Elizabth Ashley, Carroll Baker, Candice Bergen, Patty Duke, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Sue Lyon, Carol Lynley, Hayley Mills, Yvette Mimieux, Suzanne Pleshette, Jean Seberg, Pamela Tiffin, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. Having played  Games with her that year, Simone Signoret recommended Ross to Nichols.
  14. Petula Clark, Goodbye Mr Chips, 1969.    Dropped for Petula (which news made Richard Burton quit, preferring an actress to a singer), Lee sued for $416,000 for breach of contract ,settled, of course, out of court. "I'm not the sort who sues, but why the hell let them get away with it.Big studios still treat actors like puppets."
  15. Susannah York, X Y and Zee, 1972.      Having relocated to London did not mean she had to make every awful US film in town.
  16. Mary Tyler Moore, Ordinary People, 1980.    Considered by debuting director Robert Redford before he probed MTM’s dark side.
  17. Marthe Keller, Young Catherine, TV, 1991.  Dabbling in TV, top UK producer Michael Deeley wanted “my dear friend” as Catherine’s mother, the Empress Elizabeth of Russia - ”I imagine nothing, I suspect everything. An Empress with no enemies is no Empress.” Remick said: “I make movies for grownups. When Hollywood starts making them again, I'll start acting in them again.”  Alas, her cancer prevented that.







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