Kathryn Grayson

  1. June Allyson, Two Girls And  Sailor, 1943.    When George Sidney was first  assigned to direct, Grayson was due to be  his star.  Instead, Richard Thorpe chose Allyson… first chosen to be her own  sister – ie Gloria DeHaven’s Jean. Van Johnson was the sailor.
  2. Susan Peters, Song of Russia, 1943.  The Hollywood Reporter stated that Garbo was a “cinch” for Nadya.  The fact that Peters, Grayson, Signe Hasso, Hedy Lamarr Lamarr, Barbara Pearson and Donna Reed were also seen,  underlined  the relative unimportance of the role in  the over-egged  (WW11) Soviet propaganda. “Distastefully Communistic,” charged headliner Robert Taylor.
  3. Esther Williams, Thrill Of A Romance, 1944.  As Williams played an LA swimming teacher, presumably Grayson had been a singing teacher.
  4. Jeanne Crain, State Fair, 1944.     Crain beat Grayson to Margy Frake in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical because Crain was under contract to Fox and Grayson to MGM. Never mind the fact that Grayson was a singer and Crain had to be dubbed. By Louanne Hogan.   Despite his early opera training, co-star Dana Andrews was also dubbed. Hollyweird!
  5. Judy Garland, Easter Parade, 1947.   The first ideas  for the Irving Berlin musical were Grayson, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton.   Garland’s husband,  Vincente Minnelli was set to  helm, until her shrink warned them not to work ensemble.  Their 1945 marriage (her second) lasted six years. 
  6. Doretta Morrow, Because You’re Mine, 1952.  Kathryn refused to work again with chubby tenor Mario Lanza who rarely washed, urinated anywhere at will, and took the title literally in his treatment of women.  She had learned the hard way – after eight years and three near-weddings with Howard Hughes. 
  7. Cyd Charisse, Brigadoon, 1953.    After the UK Rank Organisation lost the rights battle,  the (rather silly) stage hit about the Scottish Highlands town that came back to life  once a  century became yet a (sillier)  MGMusical project for Judy Garland.   Until MGM was hot for Kathryn after Kiss Me Kate  – announcing musicalisations of Camille and Trilby before her contract quickly fizzled out.  Cyd’s singing was dubbed – but she had better legs than the film’s. 
  8. Eleanor Parker, Interupted Melody, 1954.   Of all the four possibilities for the biopic of Australian opera diva Marjorie Lawrence (1907-1979), making a comeback after polio, only Grayson was a singer.  The other two were   Greer Garson and  Lana Turner.
  9. Shirley Jones, Oklahoma! 1955. He saw both but director Fred Zinnemann wanted actors rather than singers. Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Paul Newman, Dale Robertson, Robert Stack, plus singers Vic Damone and   Howard Keel, as Curly… Ann Blyth, Ailene Roberts, Eva Marie Saint, Joanne Woodward plus singers Kathryn Grayson, Jane Powell… or even Piper Laurie for Laurey… Ernest Borgnine, Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin, Rod Steiger or Eli Wallach as poor Jud Fry. However, the musical’s parents had casting approval – Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed only about Steiger.  And Oklahoma was played by Arizona!    
  10. Doris Day, Billy Rose’s Jumbo, 1962.  If at first you don’t succeed…  MGM’s first cast in 1943:  Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland.  In 1947 : Frank Sinatra-Judy Garland  – or Gene Kelly-Kathryn Grayson.  1949:  Frank Sinatra-Esther Williams. 1952:  Donald O’Connor-Debbie Reynolds. 1962: Dean Martin-Doris Day. Finally: Stephen Boyd was Day’s (weak) partner in her last musical.  A flop.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  10