Laurette Taylor

  1. Minnie Dupree, The Young in Heart, 1937.       All the unfortunately named Miss Fortune wanted in her increasingy old life was companionship.   The role was pivotal. And producer David Selznick worked his charm on testing three great veterans. First, Maude Adams, Broadway’s first Peter Pan in 1905, now 65 and retired since 45. (Her 12-minute test, with potential co-star Janet Gaynor, is preserved by George Eastman House). Next, Laurette Taylor, 53, the original, 1945 Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. (Her test is in the 2003 doc, Broadway: The Golden Age by the Legends Who Were There). And, the winning Dupree, on The Great White Way throughout 1896-1946, and making her screen debut here at 64. She captivated the public so much, that Selnick had to change the novel and film’s ending… and let her live.
  2. Elsa Lanchester,  Ladies In Retirement, 1940.   According to Hollywood Reporter, Taylor, Judith Anderson, Helen Chandler, Lillian Gish, and Pauline Lord were all in the mix for Ida Lupino’s sisters. Demented, every one.  Like Lanchester’s Emily.
  3. Gertrude Lawrence, The Glass Menagerie, 1949. Earlier in the 40s, director George Cukor planned the first screen version of the Tennessee Williams classic, with bis pal, Katharine Hepburn, as the shy, crippled daughter of Broadway queen Laurette Taylor as a typically Williamsesque fading Southern belle mother, Amanda.  And, (naturally) Spencer Tracy as The Gentleman Caller. Never happened.  Until director Irving Rapper’s take  – hated by Tennessee. He preferred  Hepburn – not as Laura, but Amanda  – in the  better 1973 TVersion directed by  the UK’s  Anthony Harvey, after making The  Lion in Winter with Kate in  1967:  Kate was in awe of Taylor. ”She was so brilliant I would  swoon… She and Spencer were the most gifted actors I ever saw.”


 Birth year: 1884Death year: 1952Other name: Casting Calls:  3