Ann-Margret (Ann-Margret Olsson)
- Natalie Wood, Gypsy, 1962. She conquered Hollywood with her “Bachelor in Paradise” song ’n’ dance on the 1962 Oscarcast. And Warners obviously saw her as the young Gypsy Rose Lee. But Wood had a Warner Bros contract. The real Gypsy Rose Lee striptease lessons to Wood (hardly required considering her exuberant love life!) and, unlike West Side Story, Nat sang for herself.
- Carol Lynley, Under The Yum-Yum Tree, 1963. Yum-yum was not quite the word for this meal.
- Carol Lynley, Bunny Lake Is Missing, 1964. The Columbia suits wanted Fonda and Ryan O’Neal.Producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger didn’t. Wasn’t keen on Ann-Margret, either.
- Jane Fonda, Cat Ballou, 1965. Refused by her agents, after four consecutive duds. She promptly sacked her agent. “I didn't set out to make bad movies but somehow I did a string of them.”
- Shirley MacLaine, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, 1965. Not a good year for agents.She already worked with Alain Delon in Hollywood.
- Shelley Fabares, Girl Happy, 1966. The legend: Colonel Parker prevented a second film for her and Elvis to (a) prevent any revelation of their affair since Viva Las Vegas, 1964, or (b) to kill Rusty’s hold over E. (She actually thought he should make more substantial movies!). The truth: "The female Elvis" didn’t need the male Elvis - on-screen. She was getting better scripts than he was: Once A Thief, The Cincinatti Kid, Stagecoach… Years later, Allan Carr tried to get them back together for Grease.
- Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde, 1966.
- 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 Sally Field… Ann-Margret, Elizabeth Ashley, Carroll Baker, Candice Bergen, Patty Duke, Jane Fonda, Sue Lyon, Carol Lynley, Hayley Mills, Yvette Mimieux, Suzanne Pleshette, Lee Remick, Jean Seberg, Pamela Tiffin, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. Having played Games with her that year, Simone Signoret recommended Ross to Nichols.
- Sharon Tate, The Valley of the Dolls, 1967.
- Marianne McAndrew, Hello, Dolly!, 1969. Her test as Irene Molloy is in the same Fox studio’s Hollywood Screen Tests: Take 1, 1999. La Barb was not about to allow someone that pretty to take the shine off her.
- Julia Foster, Half A Sixpence, 1967. Paramount didn’t quite understand what it had in the musical based on HG Wells’ very British Kipps - wanting Annie, (or Julie Andrews) opposite Dick Van Dyke and Bob Hope!
- Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music, 1968. Among the rash of offers after she conquered Hollywood in the ’62 Oscarcast. Instead, Fox displayed her in State Fair. “When I see myself on-screen, I don’t know who that person is.”
- Jacqueline Bisset, The Detective, 1968. After Frank Sinatra dropped Mia Farrow (his wife!) for being delayed on Rosemary’s Baby. Next, he had her served with divorce papers on Rosemary’s set. Nice guy!
- Marianne McAndrew, Hello, Dolly, 1969. She tested to be Irene Molloy. but La Barbra was obviously not keen on such a beauty in the line-up of... the biggest musical flop in Hollywood history.
- Joey Heatherton, Bluebeard, 1972. She missed the big Budapest birthday bash for Liz Taylor, while wisely avoiding being one of Burton’s eight murder victims.
- Twiggy, W, 1974. Ron Shusett, of the Alien team, wrote it for her and she was to co-produce with husband Roger Smith, before her near fatal fall during a Lake Tahoe stage show. Role was re-written (and costumed!) for Twigs and the man she went on to marry, the late Michael Witney.
- Lynn Redgrave, The Happy Hooker, 1975. “You’re kidding, right?”
- Eileen Brennan, The Cheap Detective, 1978. Changed roles when Lily Tomlin dropped out of the Neil Simon package. Not that it pleased her. “I always leave [my screenings] with a migraine.”
- Olivia Newton-John, Grease, 1978. Having resuscitated her career, kaftan king Allan Carr could only think of her - and Elvis - when he bought the rights in 1972. Five years later, Presley was dead. Of sheer boredom.
- Valerie Perrine, Superman, 1978.
- Brooke Adams, Cuba, 1979. “She might have made it a very different different love story,” declared Richard Lester. “And even more of why I was interested in making the film would have disappeared.”
- Mary Tyler Moore, Ordinary People, 1980. She tested with Timothy Hutton as the (Oscar-winning) son. When Hutton asked if she’d got the part, debuting director Robert Redford said: “No - it looked too much like a love scene.”
- Jessica Lange, The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1981. After Nicholson’s original plans fell through in 1977, MGM’s James Aubrey suggested pairing Annie and Mitchum. Not a bad idea.
- Maggie Smith, The Missionary, 1982. By the end of ’81, exec producer Dennis O’Brien was “suddenly strong” on Annie. Not for long. An early ’82 meeting decided, as the scenarist and star Michael Palin told his diary, “to eliminate any spectacular, but possibly dumb, beauties in favour of Maggie Smith - attractive, striking, skillful.” She reminded Palin of his late sister Angela: “Bright, but brittle.”
- Susan Blakely, Will There Really Be A Morning?, TV, 1983. Hubby Roger Smith first bought rights to Frances Farmer’s autobiography, just ahead of Michelle Phillips who was not surprised that Blakely (and producer husband Steve Jaffe) never gave up, even after Jessica Lange's 1982 Frances movie beat her TVersion. “When Susie gets her teeth into something, she never lets go.”
- Glenn Close, The Stone Boy, 1986. “When Robert Duvall signed,” director Christopher Cain told me, “everybody wanted in - they were walking in off the street.”
- Sigourney Weaver, Gorillas in the Mist, l988. Peter Guber’s (surprise) choice when setting up his Warners project of primatologist Dian Fossey’s life, before merging with producer Arnold Glimcher’s Universal version of the autobiography set for (pregnant) Jessica Lange.
- Madonna, Evita, 1996. Another of the numerous early notions. By the time, the musical was made, she was 55 - 22 years older than Eva Peron at her death.
- Jacki Weaver, Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, 2013. Annie quit when her husband, Roger Smith, fell ill. The Cate/Naomi/Nicole/Sydney actress of the 70s, Weaver had made 43 Aussie films before being discovered by Hollywood in 2011. She was an important part of the 70s’ start of the new Aussie wave: Stork, Alvin Purple, Petersen, Caddie and, of course, Picnic At Hanging Rock.