Jennifer O’Neill

  1. Kim Darby, True Grit, 1968.    Producer Hal B Wallis looked over many possible Matties. Geneviève Bujold (who became his Anne of the Thousand Days), singer Karen Carpenter (a John Wayne idea), Mia Farrow (who kicked herself for refusing), Sally Field, Jaclyn Smith, Tuesday Weld. Plus past and future Duke co-stars Michele El Dorado Carey and Jennifer Rio Lobo O’Neill – written off by Wallis as “tall, inexperienced.” Plus Duke’s teenage daughter Aissa. (Mattie was supposed to be 14). Director Henry Hathaway was not satisfied with Darby. “Not particularly attractive, so her book of tricks consisted mostly [of] being a little cute.” Then again, if he’d explored, he would have discovered she had just given birth, was in mid-divorce and… scared of horses.  

  2. Diane Keaton,  The Godfather,  1971.

  3. Katharine Ross, Le Hasard et la violence (Chance and Violence), France-Italy, 1973.  Journalist, author and auteur Phillip Labro inherits  a script from his suddenly dead idol,  Jean-Pierre Melville. And has the gall to ”adapt” it…  O’Neill refused his invitation to join Yves Montand  (in the role originally meant for Alain Delon)  because she never agreed to nudity. Enter: Butch and Sundance’s Ross. But this was far from the best of Labro’s nine movies.
  4. Yvette Mimieux, The Black Hole, 1978.   After dropping Sigourney Weaver, (because of her difficult name!), Disney decided on the  exquisite  Summer of ’42 star as Kate McCrae.  But you cannot have long hair in space…  “This isn’t working,” said director Gary Nelson. “You have to cut your hair.” Oh, I can’t do that. “You’re gonna have to… that’s what I want.  It’s right for the movie, too.”  She called Vidal Sassoon.  “They went up to her dressing room and started cutting her hair one inch at the time, and having a glass of wine, then cutting another inch, and having another glass of wine. And by the time they were finished, it was pretty short and she was looped… She got in her car to drive home… got into an accident on Sunset Boulevard and ended up in the hospital. So we had to recast.” (Mimieux had to cut her tresses, as well).  People forgetting about wigs was not the the worst that happened to Jennifer.  A suicide  attempt at 14, breaking her back and neck when her horse  fell on her at 15, first  marriage at 17,  shot herself in the navel at 34 when “trying to determine if it was loaded.” Her 1999 auto-bio was called… Surviving Myself. And  of all the guys who fell for O’Neill as  Dorothy of ’42, she married… nine of them! 

  5.  Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1986.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  5