Marsha Mason


  1. Faye Dunaway, Network,  1976.   Having worked with the world’s “greatest English-speaking actress”  on Murder on the Orient Express in 1974, director Sidney Lumet wanted Vanessa as Diana Christensen, “the ratings-hungry programming executive who is prepared to do anything for better numbers,” as critic Roger Ebert put it. But the Jewish scenarist Paddy Chayefsky refused her, due to her sympathies with the PLO: Palestine Liberation Organisation. “Paddy, that’s blacklisting,” said Lumet, also Jewish. “Not whena Jew does it to a Gentile,”  retorted Paddy.  Also in the Diana mix: Candice Bergen, Ellen Burstyn, Jill Clayburgh, Jane Fonda, Kay Lenz (stuck on TV’s Rich Man, Poor Man), Marsha Mason and Natalie Wood. Faye won one of the four Oscars won by the “satire” which became reality when the fictional UBS network became a fact. Fox.  The following year, Vanessa won a support  Oscar for Julia,  despite what she called intimidation (picketing and burning her effigy)outside the event by “Zionist hoodlums.
  2. Sally Field, Norma Rae, 1979.    What do they know? Jill Clayburgh, Faye Dunaway, Marsha Mason spurned director Martin Ritt and had to watch Sally win Best Actress as Cannes and on Oscarnight!  No wonder she made two more Marty movies: Back Road,1980, and Murphy’s Romance, 1984. Plus, he didn’t hit on her like Bob Rafaelson did during Stay Hungry, in 1975.
  3. Jane Alexander, City Heat, 1984    .Director Blake Edwards’ idea of uniting old pals Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds had little place for women. (Nor for Blake, quickly dumped by his stars). Marsha bowed out, when “it became a completely different movie and I couldn’t connect to it anymore.Clint was wonderful about it.” Indeed, he was -making Mason his estranged wife two years later in Heartbreak Ridge.


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