Jane Greer

  1. Cathy O’Donnell, They Live By Night, 1947.   Greer and a Maine girl called Jeff Donnell were seen by director Nicholas Ray for Farley Granger’s squeeze…a girl named Keechie. Granger recommended O’Donnell. They then made MGM’s Side Street, released a few weeks after the much delayed Night in November 1949. Greer moved on to a better known ’47 pastures. Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past with Robert Mitchum. Now you’re talking!
  2. Hedy Lamarr, Samson and Delilah, 1948.   Cinemperor Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan had been had Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins.   Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious.  He sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner” from among… Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954), Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), Susan Hayward (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney… even such surprises as comical LucIlle Ball (!) and song ‘n’ dancer Betty Hutton.  Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is larger than the leading lady’s!”
  3. Lizbeth Scott, Easy LIving, 1948. Or   Education of the Heart (just like the Irwin Shaw book) when Greer was announced as the wife of US football star Victor  Mature.  On-screen, however, Mrs Mature was Lizbeth Scott.  This ws was Lucille Ball’s first return to RKO sinde the end of the 1935-1942 contract.  If she was checking the joint, she liked it – because Lucille, soon a multi-milionaire as TV’s Lucy, bought the studio  eight years later.
  4. Gloria Grahame, Macao, 1952.     Jane’s career was stuck when tycoon Howard Hughes swore “as long as I own this studio, you won’t work.” Because she had   slept with (and wed) Rudy Vallee.   Hughes ruined the marriage (lasting a mere eight months) yet saved her from this underwritten (unwritten, Gloria said) role of the villain’s main squeeze.  Gloria was stuck with her about to be divorced husband, Nicholas Ray, directing. She  offered him a deal.  “I won’t insist on alimony if you get me out of this blankety-blank picture! (Not released until 1952). 
  5. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
  6. Angie Dickinson, Rio Bravo, 1958. 

 Birth year: 1924Death year: 2001Other name: Casting Calls:  6