- Betty Hutton, Annie Get Your Gun, 1950. "I bought it [for an unprecedented $700,000] to give Judy a kick," said producer Arthur Freed. "That's when she got sick… I had to take her out. The girl just couldn't function. She couldn't get out of bed." Betty Hutton could. After Doris, Judy Canova, Bettys Garrett and Grable and Ginger Rogers were turned down. Betty Hutton could. After Doris, Judy Canova, Bettys Garrett and Grable, Ethel Merman (Broadway’s 1946 Annie) and Ginger Rogers were shot down at the pass.
- Peggy Lee, The Jazz Singer, 1952. British critic Paul Dehn referred to Day's Calamity Jane that year as "emerging in a stinging temper from the honeycomb of sickly sweet pictures." Warners had never experienced Day’s temper until denying their surprise new star the re-make of the first talkie. As a result, the studio lost her. Day's husband, Marty Melcher, worked on slipping her Warner shackles four years early. He was also working on slipping money far from her bank accounts.
- June Allyson, The Opposite Sex, 1955. As ideas, plans, scripts and directors changed, the main role of Kay went from Grace Kelly to Esther Williams to Day to Eleanor Parker and, inexplicably, mousey Allyson! Commenting on new take of her 1938 The Women, Joan Crawford blasted “those pygmies in the remake.”
- June Allyson, My Man Godfrey, 1956. For the re-make of the 1935 romcom, neither Day or Allyson could match Carole Lombard as Irene Bullock.
- Ann Blyth, The Helen Morgan Story, 1956. Day had been here before as singer Ruth Etting in Love Me Or Leave Me, 1954… For six months, Warner Bros scanned some 32 possible Morgans, including Dani Crayne, Susan Hayward, Jennifer Jones plus singers Judy Garland, Helene Grayco, Peggy Lee, Jaye P. Morgan, Patti Page, Keely Smith. And even fashion model Nancy Berg. Morgan’s friends and fans were aghast when director Michael Curtis chose Blyth, with Cogi Grant dubbing the songs, when neither looked or sounded like Morgan. Curtiz said Blyth was the best actress for the rôle and Grant’s voice was better than Morgan’s “kind of high-pitched, low-voiced torch singing… it’s outmoded.” So, tell another story! Berg’s life, for example, was way heavier.
- Mitzi Gaynor, South Pacific, 1957. The original Nellie Forbush, Mary Martin, was thought too old (at 45) to repeat her Broadway role in the Pulitzer Prize-winner. Stage-screen director Joshua Logan chose Mitzi after also musing over Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, Patti Page, Ginger Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor.
- Ann Blyth, The Helen Morgan Story (UK: Both Ends of the Candle), 1957. No, no, a thousand times... Miss Day would have nothing to do Miss Morgan’s loathsome life.
- Shirley Jones, Never Steal Anything Small, 1958. Universal tried to rematch Warners' Love Me Or Leave Me team: James Cagney and Day. She was not available.
- Audrey Hepburn, The Children's Hour, 1961. Hollywood's #1 virgin suspected of being a Lesbian!! And with (bisexual) Katharine, not Audrey Hepburn, as her lover.Who would believe it?
- Debbie Reynolds, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 1964. Now that is more like it. Metro bought it for her, but her flop MGMusical, Jumbo, created a new corporate mindset.
- Lee Remick, The Hallelujah Trail, 1964. According to screenwriter John Gay, Doris was interested in playing Cora Templeton Massingale. Director Sydney Pollack preferred Remick.
- Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music, 1965. "I want to be joyous, I want to have fun on the set, I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty, I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. That's all I want."
- Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967. A virginal Mrs Robinson..??!! No. Never! It offended her sense of values. “I could not see myself rolling around in the sheets with a young man half my age whom I'd seduced,” she said in her 1975 bio. (Many of her friends were doing just that) . Hubby-manager Martin Melcher, who parlayed her deals from $2,250 a singing week to more than a $1m per spun sugar movie and screwed her in bed and bank, had the mindset now. He absolutely refused another (much needed) image-switch. Just like Colonel Parker over-protecting Elvis. Doris was too pure for adultery? Someone was forgetting her pre-fame affair with Ronald Reagan… considered, incidentally, for Dustin Hoffman’s father!
Anne Jackson, The Secret Life of an American Wife, 1968. George Axelrod wrote it as "one of the few Hollywood sex comedies in which sex actually occurs." No wonder Doris fled.
- Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon, 1969. Paramount first considered Doris opposite Bing Crosby in what would have been the version lite. The rights passed to Paramount, where the first choice was Bing Crosby. Liter!
- Barbra Streisand, Hello, Dolly!, 1969. Doris was a somewhat genteel choice notion when poor Charol Channing, Broadway’s Dolly, was turned down. “She can’t carry a movie,” said the Fox suits, despite her Oscar nomination for her test (really), Thoroughly Modern Millie, 1967. La Barb and co-star Walter Matthau hated each other. She had, he said, “no more talent than a butterfly's fart.”
- Liv Ullmann, 40 Carats, 1973. Oh, c’mon, our Doris as a forty something getting the hots for a toy-boy while on a Greek vacation. Why not ask her for Deep Throat II.
- Jay W MacIntosh, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1977. If Doris had accepted Mrs Fields, Mr would have been Rock Hudson, just like the old days at Universal. The mindless morass of most Pepper and Abbey Road songs formed, said Newsweek’s David Ansen, “a dangerous resemblance to wallpaper.” After 43 credits, McIntosh moved into law, Hollywood law (entertainment, bankruptcy, real estate law) in 2002.
- Angela Lansbury, Murder She Said, TV, 1984-1996. Following her second divorce, 1981, Doris passed on a Pillow Talk sequel with Rock Hudson. And (after her face lift) refused $300,000 for the pilot and thereafter $100,00 per episode. Lansbury made a whole new career (and pension) out of 698 Candelwood, Cabot Cove, Maine.
- Diane Keaton, Running Mates, TV, 1992. Running for the White House, that is. Planned as her comeback with Dennis Hopper - no place for such a perennial virgin! Ended as a tele-movie.
- Debbie Reynolds, Mother, 1996. After Nancy Reagan passed, Albert Brooks contacted Doris. "I don’t want to do movies anymore, yours or anyone else's!" Interesting, felt Brooks, that she reached the decision... "in my presence." His next call: Esther Williams.