Katharine Ross


  1. Carroll Baker, The Carpetbaggers, 1964.    How she got to Hollywood… Ross wasdiscovered in a San Francisco stage troupe and invioted to ,test for the Rina Marlowe movie queenbased on Jean Harlow.  She didn’t please New York producer Joseph E Levine (but then as Baker proved, what did he know).. Result: A long-term contract.  But with Universal where one bright suit had been spying on Paramount screentests!
  2. Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde, 1966.
  3. Jacqueline Bisset, Bullitt, 1968.   Ross passed, giving a third Hollywood break to Bisset. The real stars, however, were Steve McQueen, his stunt double Bud Ekins and their 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback in the classic 10 minutes 53 seconds car chase.  
  4. Jacqueline Bisset, Airport, 1969.    Another gift from Ross became Bisset’s fifth LA  rôle in  succession – or was it that the Brit  had the better agent.  (Plus aproval by Sinatra and McQueen). The top-billed Burt Lancaster called it “the worst piece of junk ever made. ” (It made  him the most he’d ever made from one movie, at least $7m).
  5. Mia Farrow, The Public Eye, 1972.    Cary Grant as the detective following Julie Andrews as a possibly unfaithful wife became Burton-Elizabeth Taylor for a wee while – like so many projects during the Burtons’ boom. Finally the Israeli  star, Topol, kept an eye on  Mia Farrow in director  Carol Reed’s final film.  Dame Maggie Smith created the role in Peter Shaffer’s one-act play, The Public Ear, in 1962. Faye Dunaway  and Katharine Ross (to be followed by Paul Scofield) were also up for the wife – followed by Paul Scofield.  Chicago critic Roger Ebert shredded it: “The actors actually manage to make this look worse than it sounds (and I am not being very easy on it).”
  6. Mia Farrow, The Great Gatsby, 1973. There were eight possible Daisy Buchanans – Candice Bergen, Genevieve Bujold, Lois Chiles, Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Katharine Ross – after Paramount’s owner Charles Bludhorn ruled that Ali MacGraw, wed to the studio’s production chief, Robert Evans, “is not doing this picture. Is. That. Clear?”  Tuesday Weld and Natalie Wood were also in the loop but Bergen and Farrow went to the wire.  Producer David Merrick wanted “aristocratic looks, hard to find in an actress.”  Farrow won the tests – with the looks of a ‘flu victim with a 103 temperature. And Chiles became the “fast” Jordan Baker. Time magazine critic Jay Cocks decreed: “The film is faithful to the letter of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel but entirely misses its point.”
  7. Barbara Bain, Space: 1999, TV, 1973-1977.  The married UK creator-producer team of  Gerry and Sylvia Anderson did not always agree.  For their first non-puppetry space series, Sylvia wanted the leads to be Ross and Robert Culp.  They compromised with a real couple for Moonbase Alpha –  TV’s  Mission: Impossible  stars  Martin Landau and Barbara Bain… more trouble than they were worth, forever interfering with casting and scripts to avoid their shine being tarnished.
  8. Faye Dunaway, Voyage of the Damned, 1976.  Ross had the looks. Dunaway had the Oscar.
  9. Jacqueline Bisset, The Deep, 1976.   Wanted.   By Columbia Pictures. Someone… anyone  “looking like Ursula Andress in a bikini.”  (So why didn’t they ask her to be Gail?)  Bisset beat fellow Brits Samantha Eggar, Charlotte Rampling, plus Candice Bergen, Katharine Ross and newcomers Susan Blakely, Christina Raines. But disliking the “silly and unfair” Andress line, she refused to be forced into a wet tee-shir!!   Still riding the wave of The Detective, Bullitt, Airport, etc, she wanted Nick Nolte’s second billing.  He refused.  Until meeting her…
  10. Therese Ann Savoy, Caligula, 1978.

  11. Jessica Lange, Frances,1982.     
    Howard Hawks  said  she always seemed to be shining. “More talent than anyone I ever worked with.” She and Vivien Leigh were beaten by Ingrid Bergman to For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1942.  She’s the subject of various books, plays (viz Sally Clarke’s Saint Frances of Hollywood),  pop and rock songs  – French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer even took her name. All actresses loved her talent and guts (when wrongfully committed to asylums by her parents) and  wanted to ply…  Frances Farmer.  From the sublime to the ridiculous: Meryl Streep to Susan Dey  of TV’s Partridge Family. Kim Basinger tested with Sam Shepard (Lange’s husband). Undaunted Susan Blakely made her own 1983  TVersion (from Farmer’s book, Will There Really Be A Morning?). Plus Anne Archer, Blythe Danner, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Glenda Jackson, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Katharine Ross, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. Plus Constance Money, who met  with  producer  Mel Brooks and debuting director Graeme Clifford. They liked her. Not her CV. Seven porno fikms in three years.  Even if they used her real name (Sue Jensen), someone would have blown an expensive whistle about her hardcore career.




 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  11