Mona Freeman

  1. Jean Heather, Double Indemnity, 1943.   Cheers! A Hollywood debut at age 18, as Barbara Stanwyck’s step-daughter in a  Billy Wilder classic.  Then, tears!  She was dropped replaced for achieving what all Hollywood ladies craved – looking too young. Wilder gave her a compensatory bit as Edward G Robinson’s secretary. This was the first of nine movies. From Going My Way with Father Bing Crosby to Gene Autry’s Last Round Up!
  2. Angela Lansbury,  National Velvet, 1943.  Same again…  This time Freeman didn’t look old enough to be Elizabeth Taylor’s older sister.  (Enter: another Brit). In fact, Freeman was six years older than Taylor.
  3. Director Frank Capra was sorely disappointed by his 1934 film, Broadway Bill. He was right. It really did nol work because Warner Baxter (as the trainer of the titular race horse) was scared of horses! Which explains  why Capra  re-spun it  15 years later with Bing Crosby. His love interest was Coleen. And not Geraldine Brooks, Mona Freeman or Joan Leslie.
  4. Anne Baxter, All About Eve, 1950.
  5. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 1952.   Frank Capra (and George Stevens) wanted Liz Taylor, William Wyler liked Suzanne Cloutier (the future Mrs Peter Ustinov) for the runaway Princess Ann.   A further 28 actresses were seen, the good, bad and risible – like the current sex-bombs Yvonne De Carlo Diana Dors, Gina Lollobrigida, Sylvana Mangano, Shelley Winters.  Apart from, perhaps, Vanessa Brown, Mona Freeman and Wanda Hendrix (even though  her real name as Dixie), the Hollywood hopefuls  – singer Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt), Jeanne Crain, Nina Foch, Janet Leigh, Joan Leslie, June Lockhart, Dorothy Malone, Patricia Neal, Barbara Rush – were soon discarded, lacking the stature of Euro-royalty. Idem for the Euros – Swedish Bibi Andersson, and the French Capucine, Leslie Caron, JeanneMoreau. Which left several perfect Brits Claire Bloom, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Kay Kendall, Deborah Kerr, Angela Lansbury, Moira Shearer, and, of course, Audrey, … soon gracing the Time cover, hailed by the New York Times as a “slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike” with, added Variety, a “delightful affectation in voice and delivery, controlled just enough to have charm and serve as a trademark,”(And, Indeed, it did for evermore).
  6. Dana Wynter, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1956.  Dana had just an edge more to help make it… all together now…  the Wynter’s tale!

 Birth year: 1926Death year: 2014Other name: Casting Calls:  6