1. - Cammie King, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
2. - Claude Jarman Jr, The Sun Comes Up, 1948. The title hides it, but this is a Lassie movie… although the dog was Jock in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ Saturday Evening Post story. Come to that, the orphan was a boy called Jerry. But MGM suggested it for the UK girl who was such a hit at age ten in the first shaggy dog tale, Lassie Come Home, 1942. Except, well, she was now 16 and blooming and, anyway, there was a new kid in town - making a huge success of The Yearling in 1948. But he's a boy! So's The Pope!
3. - Deborah Kerr, Quo Vadis, 1950. Director John Huston was prepping the re-make in Rome, summer of '49, for Taylor, Gregory Peck, Walter Huston. As sets went up, Peck suffered an eye infection and shooting was postponed. There was talk of re-matching Liz with Peck's replacement, MGM workhorse Robert Taylor, until California's education board balked at yet another prolonged overseas trip for her. While making Conspirator with him in London, 1949, Liz said: "How can I concentrate on my education when he keeps sticking his tongue down my throat." She got her trip - as an Euro-honeymoon with Nicky Hilton. Once they hit Rome, MGM took Taylor to the set and dressed her up as a slave girl among the extras - they also included Sophia Loren and her mama.
4. - Jane Powell, Two Weeks With Love, 1950. And it became Powell’s favourite movie - rather than, say, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Many scenes were shot twice, to satisfy US and UK ears. Not sure what that did to Debbie Reynolds’ ‘Aba Daba Honeymoon’!
5. - Janet Leigh, Scaramouche, 1951. Around the time tycoon Howard Hughes was in touch with Taylor's mother - offering $1m to marry Liz! He then set his cap (and wallet) at Leigh. Among 150 others.
6. - Jean Simmons, Young Bess, 1953. MGM boss LB Mayer's idea when she was "Mona Lizzy," moving from horses to dogs, National Velvet to Courage of Lassie, at $750 a week. Obviously, the 15-36 age range was beyond her and her 35 inch breasts. Mickey Rooney was heard to cry: "Why, she is a woman!"
7. - Ann Blyth, All The Brothers Were Valiant, 1952. Working again too soon after having her first child, Michael Howard Wilding. Taylor was dropped, with orders to carry on slimming before her next Metro gig. Once fit, she took over Paramount’s Elephant Walk from Vivien Leigh's breakdown, earning MGM $150,000, ten times her contract salary.
8. - Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 1953. Director icon Frank Capra's "pet yarn" was for Liz and Cary Grant. Paramount (unbelievably) said: No! So, he sold it to ex-partner William Wyler, who helmed it at... Paramount! And Wyler also "wanted a girl without an American accent," And a star is born! The “ slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike” Audrey Hepburn (to cite the New York Times). won an Oscar fort her US debut, after walk-ons in UK frolics. On director William Wyler’s orders, the cameraman kept shooting after the scene reading was over, to witness her natural presence.
He loved her - but still tested the French-Canadian Suzanne Cloutier, the future Mrs Peter Ustinov during 1954-1971.
9. - Ava Gardner, The Barefoot Contessa, 1954. Joan Collins and Rossana Podesta also considered before Metro loaned Ava for Maria Vargas, Contessa Torlato-Farrini, for $200,000 plus 10% (of which she got just $60,000). Writer-director Joseph Mankiewicz reported that Liz was "desperate for the part" - despite the role's prototype being Rita Hayworth.
10 - Jane Powell, Athena, 1954. Two years earlier, Arthur Fred was due to produce the planned Esther Williams swim-fest into a musical. With a titular Taylor being raised by eccentric grandfolks - into nutrition, stargazing and body builidng (enter Steve Reeves!).
11 - Kay Kendall, Quentin Durward, 1955. MGM wanted a second Ivanhoe for the Taylors: Liz and Robert. This wasn't it. “I’ve never had acting lessons, though many people think I need them... I never tried to act until A Place in the Sun.”
12 - Audrey Hepburn, War and Peace, 1956. Her showman husband, Mike Todd, planned it - and Don Quixote - after Liz had their daughter, Liza. "It might be a good idea to show off Liz to the Russians. She's the best secret weapon we've got. It may undermine their whole structure."
13 - Rossana Podesta, Helen of Troy, 1956. When Liz agreed to an epic, it would be of the million-dollar and love scandal front page variety....not this tepid affair. After also considering Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, even Rhonda Fleming and Yvonne De Carlo, director Robert Wise went, stupidly, Italian. When he had the perfect Helen playing Andraste... Brigitte Bardot.
14 - Grace Kelly, High Society, 1956. Liz was about to rival-free at MGM as Kelly quit Hollywood after this fun stuff with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra to become Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco! She even wore her actual engagement ring as Tracy's.
15 - Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957. Although a trifle old at 25 for the 19-year-old Maid of Orleans, the tyrannical producer-director Otto Preminger knew the importance of Liz on a movie marquee. (Edward Dmytryk won her for his Raintree County marquee, instead). He 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 and… Mamie Van Doren!
16 - Mitzi Gaynor, South Pacific, 1958. When Broadway's Mary Martin was "too old" to re-play Nellie Forbush, stage-screen director Joshua Logan saw 'em all: Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, Ginger Rogers and Liz.
17 - Natalie Wood, Marjorie Morningstar, 1958. Warners bought Herman Wouk's novel for Liz and Marlon Brando to film in 1956. Oh no, said Natalie, immediately pursuing it as another of her passion-projects: Rebel Without A Cause, A Cry in the Night, Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story, etc.
18 - Janette Scott, The Devil’s Disciple, 1958. Plan A was Taylor as the wife of Gary Cooper’s Reverend Anthony Anderson, based on Peter Muhlenberg, “The Fighting Parson of the American Revolution.” Coop was not a well man and Burte, co-boss of Hecht-Lancaster Productions, took over. And Taylor departed. Replaced by another former UK kid star.
19 - Marilyn Monroe, Some Like It Hot, 1958. The friendship of two jazzmenhiding from The Mobin a girls’ band was the story.“Which made Billy [Wilder] think,” said one of his stars, Tony Curtis. “If Sugar was the weakest part, he needed to give it the strongest casting.” Taylor had just been widowed.Audrey Hepburn was nojazz chanteuse. What aboutMarilyn - now ya talking!! “She looked on the screen,” said Wilder, “as if you could reach out and touch her.”
20 - Audrey Hepburn, Green Mansions, 1958. First, Mexican Dolores Del Rio was to be the jungle sprite at RKO in 1933. MGM then bought the rights for Taylor in 1949; she rapidly grew out of the role. Next, in 1953, Rima was aimed at the French Leslie Caron in a version by the more musical team of producer Arthur Freed, writer Alan Jay Lerner and director Vincente Minnelli in 1953. Then, it was for Italian Pier Angeli… or Yma Sumac, the Peruvian soprano with the incredible vocal range of five octaves. Finally, she was Hepburn. She actually gave up The Diary of Anne Frank to be directed (badly) by her husband, actor Mel Ferrer. Ain’t love grand ? No, blind.
21 - Jean Simmons, Elmer Gantry, 1959. In early days, director Richard Brooks considered Liz or Susan Hayward as Sister Sharon Falconer opposite Burt Lancaster’s firey preacher man.
22 - Natalie Wood, West Side Story, 1961.Too busy. Too expensive. Too much...Natalie Wood despised her leading man, Richard Beymer. “She had a Shit List on her dressingroom wall,” said co-star Russ Tamblyn. “And Richard's name was top. I asked her why. ‘I just don't like him.’”
23 - Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker, 1962. United Artists bought Arthur Penn's Broadway hit production for Liz. Penn refused to play. "UA was very upset," Penn told me. "They weren't used to that. They kept saying: We'll give you more money if you let us use Elizabeth Taylor." (With Liz, or Audrey Hepburn, a $2m budget; without, $500,000). He kept refusing "until they gave me my cast and the final cut." Result: an Oscar for Anne!
24 - Shirley MacLaine, Two For The See-Saw, 1962. Still stuck with Cleopatra when offered $500,000 and 10% of the gross to see-saw with Paul Newman - instead of Broadway’s pair: Anne Bancroft-Henry Fonda. Newman well used his liberty - he made The Hustler, 1961.
25 - Shirley MacLaine, Irma La Douce, 1963. Director and co-scenarist Billy Wilder defended his second choice after Marilyn Monroe's death. "You may think Liz can't do comedy. You'd have said the same thing about Garbo before I put her in Ninotchka - one of the best things she ever did."
26 - Shirley MacLaine, What A Way To Go, 1964. "I lost her because I made the mistake of treating her with awe," confessed UK director J Lee Thompson. "You've got to know when to be tough with women." He also used Shirley in his next film. "You must sometimes say, "That was bloody bad" to Shirley - she likes it."
27 - Kim Novak, Of Human Bondage, 1964. Not often she was anyone's second choice but that is where Henry Hathaway had her. With Natalie Wood was third. First was Marilyn Monroe. Of course.
28 - Carroll Baker, The Carpetbaggers, 1964. When her new (fourth) husband, singer Eddie Fisher, started organising her career, The Fisher Corporation arranged a four-film deal (including the Harold Robbins book) with Warners for 40% of the gross - changed by the studio to 50% of the net. They sold out to producer Joseph E Levine.
29 - Audrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady, 1964. Audrey was producer Jack Warner's first choice, Liz second (and she wanted it, desperately) and the original Eliza Dolittle, Julie Andrews, was left on the sidelines to do little... except steal the Oscar from Audrey for Mary Poppins.
30 - Ingrid Bergman, The Visit, 1964. Eddie Fisher did not last to the end of Cleopatra, and once she was half of the over-headlined Burtons, their Welsh playwright friend, Emlyn Williams, suggested filming the Friedrich Dürrenmatt play. The idea had "an element of prophecy as well as psychology," suggested Liz's biographer Alexander Walker. "Almost all the roles that the Burtons were to play... involved the destructive pressures that a strong woman brought to bear on a weak-willed man."
31 - Carol Lynley, Bunny Lake Is Missing, 1965. Named for an earlier version, before Otto Preminger decided to produce and direct it.
32 - Susannah York, Sands of the Kalahari, 1965. "They both wanted to do it," said Burton's Welsh actor-producer pal, Stanley Baker. "But she wanted $1m and he asked for half. And 20% of the gross. Paramount was persuaded to go as far as 12.5% but no more. Impasse." That’s what friends are for!
33 - Anjanette Comer, The Loved One, 1965. UK stage-screen director Tony Richardson was serious about Liz as the unlikeliest embalmer of them all... and Burton as the poet in her thral at The Whispering Glades Memorial Park. The Burtons were equally serious about their money: $1.5m between them. Bye-bye Burtons!
34 - Julie Christie, Darling, 1965. The idea - of course - of the bankers!
35 - Julie Chrisie, Farenheit 451, 1966. Yelling Liz, Burton and Robert Redford, producer Sam Spiegel jumped aboard the plans of French realisateur François Truffaut for... oh, all of five minutes.
36 - Natalie Wood, This Property Is Condemned, 1966. Scenarist-director John Huston was keen to tackle Tennessee Williams' Depression drama. (More like depressing).. Then, Taylor's bisexual husband, Richard Burton, was going to direct. Until both guys shot off and tried to arrange The Man Who Would Be King. Nat loved it. "Probably the closest I'll ever get to playing Blanche DuBois."
37 - Julie Christie, Fahrenheit 451, 1966. As if he didn’t have enough pressures - first film in colour, first in English, a language he was far from happy with - French nouvelle vague icon François Truffaut also suffered four years of casting hurdles…. starting with Paul Newman as the fieman hero, Montag. When feeling Ray Bradbury’s story was too important to be shot in English(!), the réalisateur tried his past and future stars, Charles Aznavour, Jean-Paul Belmondo - and Oskar Werner as Montag’s boss. His producer wanted Sterling Hayden in either role. Producer Sam Spiegel tried muscling in by promising Richard Burton bossing a Robert Redford and loving Taylor!
38 - Vanessa Redgrave, Camelot, 1967.AnnouncingLiz as Guinevere in1965was a ploy tohavehusband Richard Burton re-create his Broadway King Arthur. Theydidn't bite. And, anyway, withPeter O’Toole touted for Lancelot Du Lac,that left no money over for camera, director, lights, cast and crew. Redgrave and her Lancelot, Franco Nero, became lovers, had a son, auteur Carlo Gabriel Nero and married... but not until 2006.
39 - Shani Wallis, Oliver! 1968. Can they sing? Does it matter! The Burtons were offered everything - suitable or just plain daft.Liz might have been tempted if the Dickensian musical had switched to the title of the first Oliver Twist movie in 1897: The Death of Nancy Sykes.
40 - Ursula Andress, Casino Royale, 1967.
41 - Sandy Dennis, That Cold Day in the Park, Canada, 1969. Difficult to see Liz at 37 as a virgin in her 30s... virgin, at all). After losing Petulia to hot director Richard Lester, the not yet so hot Robert Altman wanted to set Richard Miles' erotic novel in London for Liz. Would she have agreed to be seen being fitted for a diaphragm in a family planning clinic? That was cut when the X-rating was diluted to R by cutting or masking dialogue about penis size, a totally nude Susanne Benton, Luana Anders and a guy on TV... but keeping the lesbians and a nearly incestuous romp.
42 - Anouk Aimée, Justine, 1969. Auteur Joseph Mankiewicz was adapting Lawrence Durrell's labyrinthine Alexandria Quartet for Liz-when his producer, Walter Wanger, asked him to rescue Cleopatra. Durrell thought the French star was "a perfect blendofsurface sweetness and haunting beauty over an inner structure of tensile steel. One feels that she could switch from angel to demon at any point."
43 - Genevieve Bujold, Anne of a Thousand Days, 1969. Richard Burton was Henry VIII and Liz craved to be his queen, Anne Bolyen - and was in with a chance having wisely persuaded him to switch roles with Peter O'Toole in Becket for the same producer, Hal Wallis. Except she was in no condition, age or health wise - clad in surgical corset to combat her usual back problems. Legend insists she was paid $46 for a (masked) walk-on. Also up for the chop: Geraldine Chaplin, Juilie Christie, Faye Dunaway and, way too youngat 18, Olivia Hussey.
44 - Rosanna Schiaffino, Simon Bolivar, 1969. The Burtons were Italian director Alessandro Blasetti's high hopes for his biopic of the Venuzuelan national hero.
45 - Raquel Welch, Myra Breckinridge, 1969.
Robert Fryer always saw Myra with British Class. First, Angela Lansbury, then Liz. The $1.5m offer was not enough even though David Giler had respun Mike Sarne's script (Giler asked why Kennedys died and Sarne lived). "It's a marvellous book," director Joseph Losey told her. "Done properly, neither of us would have to work again." The exact fate of Mike Sarne. Not quite for the same reason. He light-bulbed on Raquel as perfect for his pop-art gallery. “Because she has a marvelously artificial way of acting,” he, er, praised? “And you could totally believe that she was a sex change in a mad sort of way.”
46 - Rosanna Schiaffino, Simón Bolívar, 1969. Italian director Alessandro Blasetti wanted Richard Burton as Venezuela’s. El Libertador WithLiz on board as…er….oh anyone else… (What about Consuelo Hernandez? Fine!) Burton fled. Liz followed.He was, as he told his diary on July 22, “fundamentally so bored with my job that only drinking [1½ bottles of vodka per day] is capable of killing the pain.”
47 - Barbra Streisand, Hello, Dolly!, 1969. Broadway’s original Dolly, Carol Channing, was bumped so what chance did a non-singer like Liz have. None at all when La Barb entered the frame - opposite Walter Matthau who hated her and declared she had “no more talent than a butterfly's fart.”
48 - Shirley MacLaine, Two Mules For Sister Sara,1969. When Budd Boetticher quit the project, Liz Taylor pounced and wanted, from the start, Clint as her co-star… after meeting him when he was making Where Eagles Dare with some Welsh actor.. "Longtitude and latitude killed the deal," said director Don Siegel. Refusing Mexico, Liz insisted on Spain where Burton would be filming. Universal refused,displeased with her falling allure in Boom and Secret Ceremony."Too much of a hassle with Liz," moaned producer Marty Rackin. "Shirley will pack a bag and go anyplace you tell her."Not that she enjoyed this trek.
49 - Barbra Streisand, The Owl and The Pussycat, 1970. The Burtons were just too famous to be accepted as a shy bookworm writer and a shrill hooker who live in the same New York building. Or, the same room in this claustrophobic version of Bill Manhoff’s play. La Barb had the best bit cut - her raunchy love scene with George Segal.
50 - Janet Suzman, Nicholas and Alexandra, 1970. Having lost $10m for Columbia on a four consecutive flops, small films all, it was time for producer Sam Spiegel to go BIG again in the River River Kwai/Lawrence of Arabia tradition. BIG, but CHEAP. A mere $8m budget was not able to afford his Suddenly, Last Summer star (nor Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, or Vanessa Redgrave). Anyway, no one gave a damn about “two silly people,” wrote Stanley Kaufman in The New Republic, “getting what, as justice goes in this world, they deserved.”
51 - Lee Remick, A Severed Head, 1970. As the fashion became trying to squeeze the Burtons (as the Lynch-Gibbons) into anything semi-literate, producer Elliott Kastner tried to land them, opposite Brando and Julie Christie, in Iris Murdoch’s intellectual farce. The film proved as dull as the Burtons had become. .
52 - Faye Dunaway, Hogan's Goat, TV, 1971. A casting too far... The Burtons, O'Toole and Spencer Tracy were far too expensive for filming the 1965 Broadway play "that led to everything" for Faye Dunaway (Bonnie and Clyde, for instance). "Emotionally, I'm very close to Kathleen Stanton - this sensual and spiritual struggle of a woman of good birth, convent-bred, yet dominated by her senses." The big movie became a PBS special.
53 - Francesca Annis, Macbeth, 1971. Richard Burton's idea. "I've always had a funny feeling about the play. I can't deny its greatness but I'd rather produce it than be in it." Annis, Taylor's handmaiden in Cleopatra, became a younger than usual Lady Macbeth in Polansk's film. Nude, of course. 'Twas a Playboy production, forsooth.
54 - Mia Farrow, Follow Me (US: The Public Eye), 1972. Landed in the Burtons' den for five minutes. Who would believe (a) Liz being wed to Dirk Bogarde and (b) that her extra-marital fun (spied upon by detective Richard Burton) was merely going to horror movies and London's tourist haunts? As Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert reported: "Dumb, dumb, dumb. Worse than that... boring."
55 - Gayle Hunnicutt, The Legend of Hell House, 1972. Fantasy writer Richard Matheson set about bettering Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting and then toned down his novel’s sex and hyper-violenceto win over his dream team - the Burtons. He got Gayle and Clive Revill.Not the same thing at all.
56 - Liv Ullmann, 40 Carats,1973. Before quitting the project, veteran US director William Wyler had also considered for the fortysomething woman falling for a 22-year-old guy during a Greek vacation... Doris Day (!), Audrey Hepburn, Glenda Jackson, Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Joanne Woodward.
57 - Florinda Bolkan, Una breva vacanza (US: A Brief Vacation), Italy-Spain, 1973. Not like Vittorio De Sica to reject La Loren but... According to his producer Arthur Cohn, Liz, Jane Fonda and Sophia were all fighting to be Clara Mataro
58 - Anne Bancroft, Jesus of Nazareth, 1977. Ill... She foolishly attempted to make up to Italian stage-screen director Franco Zeffirelli eleven years later as the dubbed opera diva in his Young Toscanini flop.
59 - Stephane Audran, Des Terufels Advokat (UK: The Devil's Advocate), Germany, 1977. This time, Burton would have had the stronger role - as a priest with a fatal cancer testing his faith.
60 - Nanette Newman, International Velvet, 1978. Obvious ploy: get the 1944 National Velvet kid - to play the aunt of a new kid star (Tatum O’Neal) in the international re-hash of her childhood National Velvet, 1944. Director Bryan Forbes did not search very far. Nanette is his wife.
61 - Lauren Bacall, The Fan, 1980. At one time, Liz was going to star for director Jeff Lieberman. Never happened. Good because La Bacall was superb. The film (about with Michael Biehn staking a Broadway star) was not. Director Ed Bianchi never got another gig for ten years.
62 - Joan Collins Dynasty, TV, 1981-1989. Legendary producer Aaron Spelling aimed high. Too high. Liz Taylor refused. So did Sophia Loren and Raquel. Allowing Joanie to turn Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan into, at her suggestion, a female version of JR Ewing, the Dallas villain the world lto hate. That’s how one of US TV’s most memorable bitches was birthed. Around the same time, Taylor’s husband, Richard Burton, was offered $2.5m for a five-minute cameo as one of Lana Turner ‘s ex-husbands in Falcon Crest. He didn’t bite, either.
63 - Robert Mitchum, The Ambassador, 1984. Elmore Leonard's Detroit thriller somehow became a Middle East thriller with Mitchum (in his third Cannon production!) in the title role once announced for Liz. Cannon being Cannon, it made a second (and better) film from the same source keeping Leonard’s title: 52 Pick-Up, 1988.
* “Principal Photography starts in November 1976” it say here. That didn't happen until 1984 by which time the US ambassador brokering Middle East peace had bizarrely become... Robert Mitchum.
64 - Dolly Parton, Steel Magnolias, 1988. Bette Davis caught the off-Broadway play – all gossipy one-liners at a Louisiana beauty parlour - and immediately tried setting up a movie. She would be Ouiser Boudreaux, of course, with Katharine Hepburn and Taylor as Claire and Truyy. Producer Ray Stark had other plans. Younger!
65 - Angie Dickinson, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, 1993. Boring director Gus Van Sant's idea even while trying to counter the book's exaggeration with down-to-earth imagery. Oh really, is that what he was doing...?!
66 - Cher, Faithful, 1996. Paul Newman-Liz became Liz-Ryan O'Neal, then O'Neal giving his wife, Cher, a hitman for her birthday - and she is his target!
67 - Lauren Bacall, The Mirror Has Two Faces, 1996. As Barbra Streisand's mother! Bacall got an Oscar nomination and everyone knew she would win - including the winner, Juliette Binoche. Taylor always hated being called Liz - “it can sound like such a hiss.”