Lewis Stone

  1. Jean Hersholt, The Mask of Fu Manchu, 1932.      Hersholt was substituted during extensive re-shoots when MGM felt a fat man trapped in a spikey torture device would appear more sadistic than hair-raising! Stone started in silents in 1915, made 151 movies, from Garbo’s leading man to fathering Andy Hardy in 14 movies, 1937-1946.
  2. Walter Connolly, Broadway Bill, 1933.    Try as he might, director Frank Capra could not spring Calhern loose from MGM for his racecourse comedy.  (Bill is a horse).  He re-made it, in far better fettle, as Riding High, with Bing Crosby in  1949.
  3. Arthur Byron, The President Vanishes, 1935.       No election, but there was still a change in the White House. Producer Walter Wanger dropped MGM’s Stone, for being far too well known to be accepted by the public as POTUS. But, er, he didn’t start playing his most famous role of Andy Hardy’s father… for another two years.
  4. Reginald Owen, Salute to the Marines, 1942.      Stone, Van Johnson, Marjorie Maine, future director Richard Quine and Stone were first announced by MGM as Wallace Beery’s co-stars in all the flag-waving patriotism.
  5. Lionel Barrymore, Tennessee Johnson,  1942.     Change of Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868), political foe of Andrew Johnson,  the titular 17th US President for just 42 days after the 1865 assasination of the 16th POTUS, Abraham Lincoln – played by a Van Heflin suffering from appendicitis.
  6. Walter Hampden. Sabrina (UK: Sabrina Fair), 1954.   Billy Wilder wanted Judge Hardy (Andy’s father)  to head Long Island’s  Larrabee clan – Humphrey Bogart and William Holden as unlikely brothers, both  smitten with how radiant their chaufeur’s daughter has become after a Paris sabbatical.  Alas, Stone succumbed to a heart attack, at 73, in September 1953 – just as the comedy started shooting.  Hampden, who died two years later (and older), , was an American stage institution. He owned two theatres on The Great White Way and  was John Barrymore’s greatest rival in their productions of Hamlet. Until Sam Waterson in 1975, they were the only Americans to play the Danish prince on Broadway.


 Birth year: 1879Death year: 1953Other name: Casting Calls:  6