Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982)
- Betty Field, Victory, 1939. Frederic March was so impressed with Ingrid at a Hollywood party, he insisted she become his leading lady. However, producer David O Selznick, who brought her to America, was awaiting better offers...
- Mary Astor, The Maltese Falcon, 1940. Who didn’t want to be Brigid O’Shaugnessy: “I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.” She was the film noir Scarlett O’Hara and three of the potential Scarlett women were in the mix: Joan Bennett, Paulette Goddard, Brenda Marshall. Also delighted at being seen were: Bergman, Olivia de Havilland, Betty Field, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Janet Gaynor, Rita Hayworth. The rest were livid about not being good enough for bad Brigid… and her just desserts. “If you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years,” Bogie’s her. “I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.” As for Bogie and Bergman, they'll always have Casablanca.
- Lana Turner, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 1941. Both stars made the film, after swopping roles. Ingrid was booked as the good doctor's fiancee. She preferred the bad mister's whore. MGM agreed after rejecting Spencer Tracy's idea of both roles played by his nursemaid, Katharine Hepburn.
- Anne Baxter, Five Graves To Cairo, 1942. As David’s Selznick International began making less - certainly, lesser - films, it turned into a talent agency, renting out its contracted stars. Selznick OK’d Bergman going to Paramount for Billy Wilder’s second Hollywood film. Then, new French important Simone Simon was thought better (ie cheaper) for Mouche. Finally, Baxter became the chambermaid. Didn’t stop the movie being stolen by Erich von Stroheim as an overly ornate Rommel.
- Rosa Stradner, The Keys of the Kingdom, 1944. Gregory Peck's debut had not opened and Fox production boss Darryl Zanuck needed a name as the Reverend Mother Maria Veronica to bolster him. Nunnally Johnson reported how producer Joseph L Mankiewicz "practically got down on his knees" for his wife, Stradner: "This will save or doom my marriage." Mankiewicz firmly denied the story but she got the part. And the couple stayed wed until her1958 death. Bergman was a nun later in The Bells of St Mary’s opposite Father Bing Crosby. But not after offering her services to Italian maestro Roberto Rossellini…
- Merle Oberon, This Love Of Ours, 1944. Universal grabbed the rights to the Pirandello play for Charles Boyer - and, suggested director William Dieterle, why not Ingrid Bergman? They passed it over to Oberon and, why not, Claude Rains.
- Olivia De Havilland, To Each His Own, 1946. The replacement got the Oscar.
- Alida Valli, The Paradine Case, 1946. Greta Garbo said no. Bergman said no. So, Valli won new teeth, diet and lingo lessons and lost her Christian name in a below par David Selznick production that director Alfred Hitchcock was play disinterested in.
- Loretta Young, The Farmer's Daughter, 1947. And again. But no Oscar regrets."For me, to play my own part as a Swedish girl was not what I wanted to do."Producer David Selznick bought the play for her, changed tack andwent with Young - who studied her Swedish accent with Bergman's English coach Ruth Roberts.
- Judy Garland, The Pirate, 1947. Over the years, MGM aimed the Broadway drama at (a) Mrs Miniver and hubby, Garson and Walter Pidgeon; (b) Garson, Cary Grant, Charles Laughton; (c) Myrna Loy; (d) the Notorious couple, Bergman-Cary Grant; (e) William Powell and Hedy Lamarr. No one saluted. So, it was churned into a musical - with (f) a prancing Gene Kelly and an imploding Garland. Metro lost $2m. Including for the first time in any Hollywood budget, paying a shrink. For Judy.
- Alida Valli, The Miracle of the Bells, 1947. Naturally, the same year’s Joan of Ark was in the mix for the Polish actress dying upon completion of her Joan of Ark film in Hollywood. Producer Jesse Lasky even nearly took a chance on the unknown Jane Garth, who had recently played the role on-stage. Also seen for the surprisingly limp version of Russell Janney’s novel were Barbara Bel Geddes, Joan Fontaine, Greer Garson, Jennifer Jones and ballerina Ricky Soma.
- Olivia De Havilland, The Snake Pit, 1948. "I know what I turned down," she told film-maker Anatole Litvak after De Havilland's Oscar. "It all takes place in an insane asylum and I couldn't bear that. It was a very good part but if I'd played it, I wouldn't have got an Oscar."
- Bette Davis, All About Eve, 1949.
- Anna Neagle, Odette, 1950. Foolish slip (like Michèle Morgan's), refusing the true French war heroine. But then Herbert Wilcox was more attuned to directing Anna - his wife.
- Jane Wyman, The Blue Veil, 1951. Both Greta Garbo and Bergman rejected the re-make of Gaby Morlay's Maternelle.
- Jean Simmons, The Robe, 1952. Jennifer Jones was also considered for Richard Burton's girl, Diana, in the first (released) CinemaScope movie. There was more drama off-screen. Simmons had an affair with Burton, who was then warned off by her husband Stewart Granger. With a gun.
- Alida Valli, Senso, 1953. Luchino Visconti’s dream team was Bergman and Marlon Brando. “The Americans wouldn’t have him,” recalled scenarist Suso Cecchi d’Amico, “as he wasn’t famous yet. They were pushing Fairley Granger. I don’t remember why Bergman did not stay - perhaps another film. I never thought she was right for the part. Alida Valli was a logical choice to maintain an international balance: an Italian actress v an American actor.” Truth is that the married Ingrid’s “scandalous” lover was another Italian film-maker - Roberto Rossellini - and so very jealous and refused to let her work for anyone but himself."
- Jennifer Jones, Stazione Termini/Indiscretions of anAmerican Wife, Italy, 1954. Roberto Rossellini's heavy hand made sure Bergman never arrived in Paris to join Gérard Philipe.
- Maureen O'Hara, The Magnificent Matador, 1955. Ingrid wrote to Budd Boetticher expressing great interest in his follow-up script to his Oscar-nominated Bullfighter and the Lady, 1951 - as long as it was made by the last director she had written to. Rossellini.
- Dorothy Maguire, Friendly Persuasion, 1956. Gary Cooper’s attitude was if he was going to be laughed at by all America for playing a Quaker patriarch then, at least, let him have Ingrid for a wife. She didn’t agree. Cooper hated Maguire, their “son” Anthony Perkins and the film. “A boring piece of crap,” Maybe that’s why it was Ronald Reagan’s favourite movie.
- Jean Seberg, St Joan, 1957. George Bernard Shaw's attempt to film his play as part of a three-movie Rank deal in 1942, fell apart when the Irishman's favourite had the temerity to adapt Maxwell Anderson's play, Joan The Maid, into Joan of Arc, 1948. GBS never made his version and the rights fell to Otto Preminger.
- Deborah Kerr, An Affair To Remember, 1957. First choice of both Cary Grant - and director Leo McCarey, re-making his Love Affair, 1939. Grant and Kerr improvised most of their dialogue. She had been his Dream Wife, 1953, and would be again in The Grass Is Greener, 1960.
- Sophia Loren, The Key, 1958. “Acting?” said Bergman. ”Keep it simple. Make a blank face and the music and the story will fill it in.”
- Ava Gardner, On The Beach, 1959. Ava wanted $500,000. Too rich for producer-director Stanley Kramer. He started talking to Ingrid. Ava came to heel and, having lost him for her previous film, The Naked Maja, she joined Gregory Peck, her 1952 partner for The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
- Deborah Kerr, The Grass Is Greener, 1959. Kay Kendall died of leukaemia before filming began and Ingrid asked to be the wife of Cary Grant (in the role originally set for Kendall's husband, Rex Harrison). As an English countess? Kerr called: "What about me?"
- Jean Simmons, Spartacus, 1960. It’s only an epic, Ingrid! She was not alone in refusing to be Kirk Douglas’ lover, Varinia. Elsa Martinelli, Jeanne Moreau also backed off. As did Simmons until asked to replace the unsatisfactory Sabine Bethmann.
- Lilli Palmer, Julia, Du bist zauberhaft, Austria-France, 1962. What began as a British Bergman vehicle for director Carol Reed, wound up a far heavier-handed Austro-French comedy from director Alfred Weidenmann.
- Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966. Early notions for the foul-mouthed Martha were Bette Davis, Patricia Neal, Rosalind Russell - and Ingeid, presumably opposite an early thought for George: her Notorious and Indiscreet co-star, Cary Grant. Istead, it became the fourth of the Burtons’ eleven movies, winning Liz her second Best Actress Oscar.
- Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967. "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me… aren't you?" A Swedish Mrs Robinson..??!! No, as with his other dream wish - Jeanne Moreaeu - director Mike Nichols knew Dustin Hoffman’s seducer had to be American. And so the first $1m director ploughed on through Doris Day, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Susan Hayward, Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr (whoops, she’s British, Mike!), Patricia Neal, Geraldine Page, Eva Maria Saint, Lana Turner, Shelley Winters. And the prerequisite outsider: Grayson Hall, of the 1966-1972 supernatural soap,Dark Shadows.
- Uta Hagen, The Other, 1971. Writer-producing the adaptation of his own novel, ex-actor Thomas (ex-Tom) Tyron wanted Bergman. However, she was booked on stage. Enter Hagen as the grandmother of the ex-Oliver Mark Lester as the nine-year-old twins involved in a macabre murder game.
- Wendy Hiller, Murder on the Orient Express, 1973. Director Sidney Lumet - a surprising choice for an Agatha Christie whodunnit - first asked Bergman to be Princess Dragonmiroff. She preferred the much shorter role of Greta Ohlsson, a rather crazy Swedish nanny (the operative word being Swedish). And she won an Oscar.
- Katharine Hepburn, Rooster Cogburn, 1974. If well enough to reprise his Oscar-winning True Grit marshal, John Wayne wanted Bergman as Eula Goodnight, no less. Producer Hal Wallis shortlisted Bette Davis, Maureen O’Hara, (of course!). Plus true Brits Glenda Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith. But he rejected any comeback for Loretta Young (Mike Wayne’s godmother) which is when Duke, trying to avoid two wrinklies, suggested the less elderly Mary Tyler Moore. Hepburn won because the script by ex-Duke co-star Martha Hyer (Mrs Wallis, credited as Martin Julien) was a flagrant rehash of Hepburn’s African Queen - and as pathetic as director Stuart Miller. It was his second feature. The “6ft 6ins somafabitch no-talent,” as Duke termed him, never made a third.
- Gunn Wållgren, Fanny och Alexander/Fanny and Alexander, Sweden, 1981. Swedish genius Ingmar Berman created Helena Ekdahl - grandmother of the titular siblings - for Ingrid (no kin). But she had cancer. The film (24 hours were shot in chronological order) opened in Stockholm four months after her death in London.