Lee Remick


  1. Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause, 1955.    Carroll Baker, Patricia  (later Pat) Crowley, Peggy Ann Garner, Jayne Mansfield (!), Margaret O’Brien, Debbie Reynolds, Lee Remick, Lois Smith, Susan Strasberg were also  in the Judy mix. – only Baker was recommended by James Dean and Elia Kazan.   She tested for Nicholas Ray and then her husband, Jack Garfein, ordered her back to New York…  knowing Ray tested Mansfield and Wood. In bed.   Baker later co-starred with  Dean in Giant, the delay of which, due to Elizabeth Taylor’s pregnancy, made it possible for Dean to play  rebellious Jim Stark.

  2. Dina Merrill, Desk Set, 1956.    Impressed by the young Remick in her debut in A Face in the Crowd, 1956, Katharine Hepburn invited her home to discuss joining her and Spencer Tracy in the eighth of their nine film (first in colour). Tracy was against the plan. “Not good enough for you,”he told her. He wuz right! Remick took his counsel and Merrill’s debut went un-noticed. Remick’s second outing was the far stronger Long, Hot Summer with another stellar couple:  Mr and Mrs Paul Newman. Hepburn got her way about Remick by playing her mother  in A Delicate Balance in 1973.

  3. Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957.    Although a trifle old at 22 for the 19-year-old Maid of Orleans, the tyrannical producer-director-ogre  Otto Preminger was intrigued by Act    ors Studio find. Instead of Joan, she made her movie debutthat same year in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd, Preminger also considered such unlikely Joans as Ursula Andress, Julie Andrews, Anne Bancroft, Claire Bloom, Carol Burnett, Joan Collins, Angie Dickinson, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore, Kim Novak (from Otto’s Man With The Golden Arm, 1955), Debbie Reynolds, Maggie Smith, Liz Taylor and…Mamie Van Doren!
  4. Vera Miles, Jovanka e le altre (US: Five  Branded Women, Italy-US, 1959.      With their heads shaved for sleeping with German soldiers during WWII, five Yugoslav women then bravely joined the very partisans who humiliated them. Remick passed.  And that’s why Miles had to wear a wig in her next film.  Psycho. Others potential heroines were: Claire Bloom, Ava Gardner, Julie Harris,  Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Nichols.
  5. Natalie Wood, Splendour In The Grass, 1961.    Director Elia Kazan had already decided on his Bud, when catching Warren Beatty ina True Story TV episode – and wanted Natalie Wood as the virginal Deanie.However, she wasa bad girl… suspended by Warners and said to be all washed up. Kazan then turned to Remick, his find for A Face in the Crowd and Wild River. Lee, however,was pregnant with her first child: Matt Colleran.Suddenly, Natalie was deemed to begood again!
  6. Kathryn Grant, Anatomy Of A Murder, 1959.      Director Otto Preminger promoted Lee after his row with Lana Turner. And so, Grant (the second and final Mrs Bing Crosby) supplied the crucial evidence to enable James Stewart to win the case.

  7. Janet Leigh, Psycho,1960.   
    “It was a big joke,” Hitchcock told BBC’s Monitor in 1964.”I was horrified to find some people took it seriously.” Aided by his wife, Alma, Hitch took his time selecting his most famous murder victim, Marion Crane.   Angie Dickinson, Martha Hyer, Shirley Jones, Hope Lange, Piper Laurie, Lee Remick, Eva Marie Saint (from his previous North By North West)
    and Lana Turner all
    missed the most infamous shower scene of 78 camera angles and 52 cuts in its three minutes, shot during December 17-23, 1959, with Leigh and body double Marli Renfro. “Just 52 pieces of film stuck together,” said Hitchcock. Dickinson had her own big shower moment 19 years later in Dressed To Kill.  Of course she did – her director was the infernal Hitch copier, Brian De Palma. Which is why he also also used a body double… and then made a film, called just that. Alexandre O Philippe made a better one, 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, 2016, telling us all we ever wanted to know about what made Jane Leigh take baths for the rest of her life. As to ace credits designer Saul Bass actually directing the sequence, that’s a whole other story. Leigh said he didn’t.  He told me he did!
  8. Inger Stevens, The Farmer’s Daughter, 1963-1966.  She was Loretta Young in the 1946 movie, then Lee Remick (with Peter Lawford) in an NBC tele-film. Ast they were too pricey for the  ABC series, the couple became Inger Stevens (as Swedish as the character) and William Windom.  A 1940 Martha Raye comedy with the same title is not the same story.

  9. Doris Day, Move Over Darling, 1963.       Marilyn Monroe was “tickled” when co-star pal Dean Martin refused to work with Remick – offered $35,000 to replace the sacked Marilyn in what started out, prophetically, as Something’s Got To Give.Legendary director John Ford always said Remick was sexier thanMonroe “anda much better actress to boot.”

  10. Tippi Hedern, Marnie, 1963.     When it proved (royally, politically) impossible for Grace Kelly to return to the screen as, of all  things for a serene princess to play, a compulsive (and frigid) thief,  Alfred Hitchcock cast a wider net.  He totally engulfed the unknown Claire Griswold (Mrs Sydney Pollack)… then, the  British  Susan Hampshire,   his contractee Miles, Remick and Eva Marie Saint – his Eve Kendall in North By Northwest. 1958.

  11. Natalie Wood, The Great Race, 1964.    Director Blake Edwards’  first choice, Jane Fonda, was shooting a better comedy, Cat Ballou. Second notion Remick was committed to Broadway. Wood accepted the suffragette Maggie DuBois while Edwards wanted Patty Duke or Elizabeth Hartman and did not take kindly to the diva-ish Wood. He got his revenge during the largest ever custard pie scene (4,000 pies over five days), hurling them with relish in her face!
  12. Carroll Baker, Harlow,1965.      When the project was at Fox in 1958 was the first time Fox tried replace Monroe with Remick – originally hyped as America’s Bardot. “But really a housewife, who is, ,ncidentally, an actress.” She passed her next offer to the other screen Harlow...
  13. Carol Lynley, Bunny Lake Is Missing, 1965.   Apparently one film with the often fierce director Otto Preminger was enough.
  14. Angie Dickinson, Point Blank, 1966.  An absolutely perfect movie… Lee Marvin gave the script – based on Hunter by Donald E Westlake (as Richard Stark) to John Boorman in London. They made an ace team.  Marvin won total creative control from MGM and handed it  to John!  Their sole disagreement, and that did not last, was when Marvin fancied the chanteuse Peggy Lee as Chris (she had been terrific in Pete Kelly’s Blues, 1954), but he agreed to Angie (the  co-star he did gell with  during The Killers, 1963). Alexandra Stewart and  Joanne Woodward also refused er, point blank. Metro production chief Robert Weitman had wanted Lee Remick.  Or Stella Stevens, who  was compensated (barely) with Sol Madrid.  Boorman often told  how Angie was asked if she dressed for men or women. “I dress for women,” she said. “I undress for men.”
  15. Katharine Ross, The Graduate, 1967.     
  16. Petula Clark, Goodbye Mr Chips, 1969.  For the musical version of  the 1938 classic which won British Robert Donat an Oscar for his portrayal of the gentle schoolmaster, Mr Charles Edward Chipping, almost every  possible Brit was contacted. From Albert Finney  to Peter  Sellers, by way of Richard Harris, Christopher Plummer,and Paul Scofield. Mrs Chips was important, too, and the couple went from Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn or the Doctor Dolittle‘s Rex Harrison-Samantha Eggar to Camelot’s Richard Burton-Julie Andrews or  Burton-Lee Remick…or surprise, surprise, Elizabeth Taylor. Plus Burton-Petula Clark, except he turned down “a singer!” (What else was Julie Andrews?).  Finally, gloriously, the Chips became Pete ‘n’ Pet. Lee sued for $416,000 for breach of contract,  settled, of course, out of court. “I’m not the sort who sues, but why the hell let them get away with  it.  Big studios still treat actors like puppets.” 
  17. Susannah York, X Y and Zee, 1972.      Having relocated to London did not mean she had to make every awful US film in town.
  18. Mary Tyler Moore, Ordinary People, 1979.Novelist Judith Guest’s anatomy of a family more in pain than love  reminded Robert Redford of “the missed signals” of his own upbringing, – it became  his directing debut. He considered Ann-Margret or Lee Remick for Beth, the “ideal” if rather sterile wife and mother.  Being a close friend, Natalie Wood thought she should play it.  Redford preferred MTM. “There a lot of Beth in her.” (Feeling betrayed, Natalie never spoke to him again).  Donald Sutherland, as Beth’s husband, tells her: “You’re so cautious…” MTM agreed she was the same, “a hang back person when things get uncomfortable.“ Redford noted this and caught it on film in a memorable directing debut.
  19. Shirley MacLaine, Postcards From  the Edge, 1989.    Debbie Reynolds wanted to play… well, virtually herself in the screen version of her daughter Carrie Fisher’s book (and script). Janet Leigh wanted to do it with her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis.  But director Mike Nichols had a comeback in mind for Remick – from his Mrs Robinson list for The Graduate in  1967.  Alas, she was ill with kidney, liver and lung cancer and would be dead, at 55, in 1991.
  20. Marthe Keller, Young Catherine, TV, 1991.  Dabbling in TV, top UK producer Michael Deeley wanted “my dear friend” as Catherine’s mother, the Empress Elizabeth of Russia – ”I imagine nothing, I suspect everything. An Empress with no enemies is no Empress.” Remick said: “I make movies for grownups. When Hollywood starts making them again, I’ll start acting in them again.”  Alas, her cancer prevented that.







 Birth year: 1935Death year: 1991Other name: Casting Calls:  20