Michael Sarrazin

  1. Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy, 1969. The only American X-rated production to win a Best Picture, Adapted Script and Director Oscars. Plus nominations for the three stars, Dustin  Hoffman, Jon Voight and Sylvia Miles. . And yet an UA suit once suggested: “If we could clean this up and add a few songs, it could be a great vehicle for Elvis!”  Well, having secretly obtained copies of the script, both Elvis and Warren Beatty were determined to play the street hustler Joe Buck. No way, said UK director John Schlesinger. “You’re too well known to play a dishwasher who lives in New York and fucks a lot of women.”  Elvis made Change of Habit (aka Elvis and The Nun!) instead – and quit movies as he was never allowed to stretch. . The unknown Harrison Ford and Kiel Martin (from TV’s The Virginian) tested for Joe.,  So did  London’s Hoboken  actor  Stuart Copper, future director of 27 movies.   Lee Majors won Joe but was suddenly his Western series, The Big Valley, was renewed. And so Canadian Michael Sarazzin became Buck – until Universal, where he was contracted,  wanted more money for him. Enter: Jon Voight, having  by now worked on his Texan accent enough.   For the French language  release, Voight was dubbed by rising French star Patrick Dewaere. (On  April 18, 1968, Daily Variety actually stated that Van Heflin was being considered for Joe. At the time, Heflln was… 60.  And, of course, up for the Barnard Hughes role of Joe Buick;s old gay guy victim.
  2. Robert Forster, Cover Me Babe, 1969. The Canadian Michael Sarazzin wasn’t moved by the film student director and the Fox suits  refused some Big Apple unknown  called Pacino.   And so the impeccable  Forster more or less reprised his better role from the previous year’s Medium Cool –  a far superior enterprise.  Robert Altman’s Cold Day  in the Park find,  Susanne Benton, co-starred. When  I asked for news of her in the 70s, he said: “Who?”
  3. Ryan O’Neal, Love Story, 1970.
  4. David Soul, Appointment With Death, 1987.  Or: Save The Cannon Group!  The Go Go Boys – Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus – were facing bankruptcy… They had, somehow, won the rights to the Agatha Christie book and hoped  for an instant co-production deal with (Lord) John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin, producers of the EMI Christies: Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, Murder Under the Sun andThe Mirror Crack’d. Never happened! Director Michael Winner (who kept quiet about cheaper shooting in Israel) managed to win an EMI-ish cast: Lauren Bacall, Carrie Fisher, John Gielgud (”a rather absurd part,” he said),  Piper Laurie, Hayley Mills, Winner’s current  lover Jenny Seagrove, TV’s Starsky and Hutch cop, David Soul and (the highest paid, $450,000) Peter Ustinov in his third and final  outing as Hercule Poirot.  But Winner  lost… PIerce Brosnan,  Ava Gardner Michael York and an ill Laurence Olivier.  “Another loser from Winner,” said Film Review. The SOS failed.  Cannon was bankrupt by 1990. 


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  4