Natalie Wood


  1. Carolyn Craig, Giant1955.
  2. Heather Sears, The Story of  Esther Costello, 1956.  One year earlier, Sam Fuller was due  to writer-direct but could never obtain any of the actresses on his his short-list for the mute and blind heroine: Wood, Joan Collins, Jean Simmons, Susan Strasberg. Romulus made it a UK film and Sears won the British Academy Award for Best Actress. Joan Crawford played her wealthy protector.
  3. Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957.     Natalie was the perfect age for the 19-year-old Maid of Orleans – she shot her 37th film, Marjorie Morningstar, instead. The tyrannical producer-director Otto 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,and Maggie Smith.
  4. Dorothy Malone, Too Much, Too Soon, 1958.     The queen of the Warner lot (as songwriter Gwen Davis put it: Natalie Wood and Tab Wouldn’t) but no matter the huge fee she was offered, she refused the Diana Barrymore story as her co-star would be Errol Flynn – alleged, if never named, as the “Mr Showbiz” who drugged, stripped, whipped and raped her in his hotel suite in 1955.
  5. Sandra Dee, A Summer Place, 1958.    Exactly the teen material that Nat felt was behind her in The Girl He Left Behind, three years before. Sole difference: for Tab Hunter, read Troy Donahue.  (Some people  still can’t tell the difference, said Tab, who often signed autographs as Troy). Nat later regretted turning down the hit film that “makes the most of Hollywood’s newly-discovered freedom to display the voluminous vocabulary of sex,” said Variety. “A couple of years ago, A Summer Place wouldn’t have been made.”
  6. Millie Perkins, The Diary of Anne Frank, 1958.   The poor, teenage Holocaust heroine deserved better than this…   Director George Stevens’ collected papers mentions reported a major search for a “new face” for Anne. More than 2,000 girls were seen in Europe (particularly Amsterdam where she lived) and Israel… such as Oshra El Kayam, Karin Wolfe. Plus actresses Perkins, Janet Margolin, Marianne Sarstadt, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood – and Broadway’s Anne, Susan Strasberg. Anne’s father, Otto Frank suggested Audrey Hepburn. She was born just 39 days before Anne was now too old (29) to play a teenager. Also, she had no wish to relive the the Nazi horrors she had seen (and heard) while growing up in Holland.
  7. Carroll Baker, The Miracle, 1959.    For Nat, back from, her (first) honeymoon with Robert Wagner, this was far from a passion-project.  Incidentally, Natalie took ballet lessons as a kid – along with Jill St John and Stefanie Powers.  All three ended up  in  Wagner’s love life.
  8. Sandra Dee, Imitation of Life,  1959.   The title perfectly summed up Sirk’s movies. Glossmeister Ross Hunter refused to pay Warners $200,000 to borrow “Natalia” and discovered his own imitation of teenage life in New Jersey’s former Alexandra Zuck – soon being borrowed by Warners.
  9. Barbara Rush, The Young Philadelphians, 1959.     Three strikes and out… Natalie was suspended by Warners for refusing this third successive movie. Despite it featuring Robert Vaughn – the lover she had two-timed Elvis Presley with back in 1956. But the New Generation Star was fed up with the old guartd. As she’d said after Marjorie Morningstar the year before: “I’d rather spend my life in a crapper than do another picture with Irving Rapper.”
  10. Janette Scott, The Devil’s Disciple, 1959.      Too soon after her marriage to RJ – Robert Wagner – to disappear to Britain for three months – even in the rarified company of Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Laurence Olivier! Her studio boss, Jack Warner, allowed her to stay home for 14 months. On suspension.  When Olivier produced a UK TVersion of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1976, he cast his friends, Natalie and RJ, as Maggie The Cat and Brick (even though they were too old).  Larry was, naturally, Big Daddy. He was among the  pall bearers (Fred Astaire, Elia Kazan, Frank Sinatra, etc) at her funeral  in 1981.

  11. Jean Simmons, This Earth Is Mine, 1959.     Nat refused to be loaned out to Universal – and sat out her suspension until Warren Beatty and Splendor In the Grass restored her fameand ruined her marriage. Not that Beatty made a move until after she and RJ were divorced.
  12. Dolores Hart, Where The Boys Are, 1959.   Wood was cut when producer Joe Pasternak was reported as selecting unknowns (Burt Reynolds and, as suggested by George Hamilton, Sean Flynn) to battle the power of big Hollywood stars. Total bull! The top roles were for jeanagers (few of whom were A Stars like Wood) and, anyway… unknowns were cheaper. (What ? You never noticed junior Flynn?  Of course not.  Most of his scenes were cut). Anyway, Wood had bigger dramas to fly: Splendour in the Grass, West Side Story. After Come Fly With Me, 1962, Hart quit Tinseltown (her 17 movies included two with Elvis). She became a Benedictine nun and, eventually, her convent’s Mother Superior.
  13. Joan Plowright, The Entertainer, 1960.    She “desperately” wanted to accept but Warners would not let her go to London and co-star with Laurence Olivier, having only just won her back to work in Cash McCall, the studio’s price for allowing her to make Splendor in the Grass.Not sure why UK director Tony Richardson felt that Olivier’s old time music-hall comic would have an American daughter… The daughter he did have on-screen, Plowright, became his third and final wife.
  14. Shirley Jones, Pepe, 1960.   Wood and Judy Garland were in and out as  Suzie.  Columbia and Posa Films, the Mexican company of the titular Cantinflas, then looked at Barrie Chase and Sandra Church before loaning Debs from MGM – for The Rumble dance routine, with West Side Story choreographics.
  15. Sarah Miles, Term of Trial, 1960. Oddly enough for the British schoolgirl involved with one of her British schoolteachers in Britain, the British suits wanted Natalie Wood!  Or was it Laurence Olivier…?  This was, after all, the  third nearly Nat and Larry teaming. Enter Sarah  Miles- and  straight into an affair at 19, with Olivier, at 54.  The only way he could get t Natalie was to bopk her himself. And also he invited her  and her husband Robert Wagner to join him in a UK TV production of Cat on a Hot Tin  Roof  in 1976. .  (Oilivier’s ex-wife, Vivien Leigh, was Natalie’s  favourite actress). 
  16. Nancy Kwan, The World of Suzie Wong, 1960.  So many rows…  When Broadway’s Suzie, France Nuyen, and director Jean Negulesco were dumped,  a “second global search for another Suzie” began in December 1959, covering: Grace Chang, Choo Oh (Miss Korea 1959), Lisa Liu, Nobu McCarthy, Charita Soliz, Luz Valdez.  A total pr job! Kwan, from London’s Royal Ballet School,  who succeeded Nuyen  on-stage, had long been producer Ray Stark’s choice. Shamefully… Because she looked  less Eurasian. Why else had he also been looking at French star Pascale Petit  (from Les tricheurs and Julie la rousse) and West Side Story’s Rita Moreno and Natalie…?
  17. Connie Stevens, Parrish, 1961.  Ironically, the next offer was the project that had first brought Warren Beatty to Hollywood – only now The Guy was played by the jellybaby Troy Donahue. Chasing Connie Stevens… instead of  Wood  opposite future husband Robert Wagner.  Natalie  tore the script up. Not easy unless you’re in a real snit.
  18. Jill St John, Tender Is the Night, 1961. Gone WithThe Wind producer David O Selznick wanted the brilliiant auteur Joseph L Mankiewicz for the Scott Fizgerald classic. Fine, said Mank, I want William Holden, “ideal casting for any Fitzgerald hero, including Gatsby,” as the dashing Dick Driver. OK, said DOS. He then  revealed his wife. Jennfer Jones, who hadn’t made a film since A Farewell To Arms as long ago as  1957), would be Driver’s emotionally troubled wife, Nicole. Mank did not feel she was capable and voted Woodward. No way, rasped DOS; using Jones was the reason of the film. Mank quit. DOS then tried John Frankenheimer, who  wanted Natalie Wood as Rosemary. No. no said DOS, she might overshadow Jones. Might? Trigger could do that.  
  19. Dolores Hart, Lisa, 1961.   Passed – rapidly – on the tame  thriller about a Dutch cop (much hunkier than in the book) helping an young Auschwitz survivor to reach Israel.  The couple – Hart and Stephen Boyd – were being pumped up to sstarom by Fox at the time. Hart lost interest and  became  nun in 1963 – the only nun eligible to vote for Oscars.   
  20. Suzanne Pleshette, Rome Adventure, 1962.    Natalie had separated from RJ and was, said director Delmer Daves, “going through an emotional turmoil, has lost eight pounds which she cannot spare and our studio doctor believes we should not plan on using her.” And they didn’t. Bereft on losing lovers (Wagner and Joan Collins), previously chaste co-stars Wood and Warren Beatty  met up,  socially, cinematically and, finally – after all that – romantically. 

  21. Audrey Hepburn, Charade, 1963.    Aka “the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made.” As per usual (particularly for his hits), Cary Grant refused the thriller and Universal immediately decided to go younger – Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood.  By which time, again as he always did, Cary changed his mind and despite all the usual age-gap guff, Hepburn was rather older than his recent partners. They made a delicious team – as producers had tried to prove before, with Roman Holiday and My Fair Lady. Fifteen years later, Cary was still hot – and Beatty was offering him $1m to play God in Heaven Can Wait, 1977.
  22. Joanne Woodward, The Stripper, 1962.  With such a lousy new title, Marilyn Monroe fled the film of William Inge’s 1959 Broadway play, A Loss of Roses – about a washed-up singer falling for a college boy (refused by Pat Bonne… on his squeaky clean moral high ground at age 28!). Lila was also offered to Kim Novak and Natalie Wood… who, a month earlier, had just finished playing America’s best known ecdysiast, Gypsy Rose Lee, in Gypsy.  Not even winning Richard Beymer again after their 1960 West Side Story could change her attitude. “Hey, one stripper’s enough for one year, OK?.”
  23. Jean Seberg, Lilith, 1963.     Yvette Mimieux discovered the JR Salamanca book and sent it to various directors, including Robert Rossen. Unfortunately, her dream role was thwarted by his lengthy decision-making – and Warren Beatty advising him to see Seberg… after promoting Samantha Eggar and Romy Schneider. Also in the mix: Dianes Baker and Cilento (Salamanca’s choice, who was Mrs Sean Connery at the time), Sarah Miles (too busy with her secret lover, Laurence Olivier) and Natalie Wood… who thought she had it in her pocket because that is where she also thought she had Beatty. Oh, so many women thought that.
  24. Suzanne Pleshette, A Rage To Live,  1964.     Producer Walter Mirisch had  first planned the John O’Hara  novel as a Nat vehicle in 1959 – to follow their West Side Story.
  25. Samantha Eggar, The Collector, 1964.    Hollywood icon William Wyler saw Julie Christie, Sarah Miles, Suzanne Pleshette and Natalie Wood for the girl kidnapped by a deranged Terence Stamp. But Sam won Miranda. Until Wyler fired her. He then  asked  Weld to take over. “But after a long meeting during which she disagreed with the legendary director on absolutely everything,” recounted her later lover, Bond and Supermanwriter Tom Mankiewicz – Wyler decided to re-hire Sam. And kept her on-set all day, made her lunch alone and told Stamp to stop trying to bed her (like the whole crew). “I know this looks cruel,” said Wyler, “but we’re going to get a great performance out of her.”  Robert Berdella said the movie inspired his serial killing  of, at least,  six men during 1984-1987. He died from a heart attack in jail in 1992. The Missouri media dubbed him The Kansas City Butcher  and… The Collector.
  26. Kim Novak, Of Human Bondage, 1964.      Veteran US director Henry Hathaway’s third choice, for Mildred, after Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.
  27. Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde, 1966.
  28. Shirley MacLaine, Woman Times Seven, Italy-France, US, 1966.   Natalie refused the lead roles. Shirley couldn’t wait to start playing the short  (tepid) tales of seven different women – Edith,  Eve Minou, Jeanne, Linda, Maria Teresa, Marie, Paulette – created by director Vittorio De Sica’s usual neorealist scenarist, Cesare Zavatinni. Nothing neo or realist here. Despite Shirl’s efforts with such fellas as Alan Arkin, Rossano Brazzi, Michael Caine, Vittorio Gassman and Peter Sellers, something was lost in translation.  Sophia Loren should have shot it in Italian – she was, after all, the great, a favourite of the creators and New York producer Joseph E Levine, who lost several (hundred thousand?) bundles on this misadventure.
  29. Jane Fonda, Hurry Sundown, 1967.     An early name on producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger’s list for Julie Ann… who later became Candice Bergen and, finally, Fonda. Wood missed nothing. Some critics called it racist and tasteless, while the CCC favourite, Roger Ebert , nailed it. “Naive and dull.”
  30. Jane Fonda, Barefoot in the Park, 1967.      Warren Beatty always remained friends with his endless conquests. Among all the equally long line of scripts he kept refusing, he hung on to Neil Simon’s comedy as a vehicle for himself and “Natasha” (as he did with Bonnie and Clyde). When that didn’t happen, the new Paramount owner Charles Bludhorn threatened to throw himself out of his New York skyscraper if Jane was cast… She was, he didn’t and it was her first big hit.

  31. Katharine Ross, The Graduate, 1967.  
  32. Barbara Harris, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad, 1967.    Natalie was announced two years earlier for, according to the sales pitch: “This motion picture will probably do as much for mothers as Moby Dick did for whales… ”
  33. Shirley MacLaine, Woman Times Seven, 1967.    Nat reportedly turned down the seven leading roles of Edith, Eve Minou, Jeanne, Linda, Maria Teresa, Marie, and Paulette in an excessively weak comedy from Italian director Vittorio De Sica.
  34. Katharine Ross, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1968.
  35. Ali MacGraw, Goodbye, Columbus, 1968. Wood and Babara Parkins passed on Brenda So, they are to blame for the screen birth of Ali MacVacuous. Paramount boss Robert Evans selected the ex-model to partner Richard Benjamin. Evans made the model a “star.” And, indeed, a wife in 1969. Until he let her make (a literal) Getaway with Steve McQueen in 1971. Whoops.

  36. Romy Schneider, La piscine, France-Italy, 1969.  
    Wood, Leslie Caron, Angie Dickinson, Delphine Seyrig, Monica Vitti were unavailable or wanted their favourite cameraman or refused swimsuit scenes. (Difficult with that title).
    Alain Delon said: “What if I ask Romy?” For her,  it was a gift from her god. He  re-launched his on-off lover’s  fading career. She was now a wife and mother, while he had one lover in the film (Madly), another visiting (Mireille Darc) before making a movie about (and with) the three of them (Madly, 1970). Director Pierre Granier-Deferre tried to re-unite The Couple for  L’un contre l’autre. Ever the gent, Delon told him he couldn’t form  a couple with Romy anymore – she was too old, too ravaged. Which gave us pause every time we saw a tearful Delon on TV going on  about (yet again)  his great  love story with poor Romy.

  37. Jennie Linden, Women in Love, 1969.     Not the only Hollywoodian considered for Ursula.
  38. Anna Karina, Laughter in the Dark, 1969.    If he couldn’t get his ex-wife Brigitte Bardot for his 1964 plans for Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, French realisateur Roger Vadim wanted Natalie opposite Richard Burton (who was selected and quickly sacked by UK director Tony Richardson in his ’69 version). Nat, however, was into a two year sabatical. “I’ve been working steadily [for more than 20 years] since I was five.”
  39. Carrie Snodgress, Diary Of A Mad Housewife, 1970.    Natalie was not interested in being a wife abused by her spouse – Richard Benjamin again. She was simply waiting for her new man, UK producer Richard Gregson, to divorce his wife.
  40. Ann-Margret, Carnal Knowledge, 1971.   When Jules Feiffer sent his new lay to Mike Nichols, the  stage and screen director immediately knew three things. 1. It was a film. 2. For Jack Nicholson. 3. But not his Easy Rider co-star, Karen Black. (They mutually agreed she that she didn’t have the right figure). Feiffer didn’t think Jack matched his “young Jewish misogynist.” “Trust me,” said Nichols, “he’s going to be our most important actor since Brando.” That’s when Jules realised he “:an write ‘em, but can’t cast ‘em.”  Nichols took his time, seeing Ellen Burstyn, Dyan Cannon, Jane Fonda, Raquel Welch, Natalie Wood – before remembering Ann-Margret in Kitten With A Whip, 1964.

  41. Liza Minnelli, Cabaret, 1972.  A (mad) 60s’ plan for  a third Natalie-Robert Redford movie after Inside Daisy Clover  and This Property Is Condemned...  Confirming the fact that director Bob Fosse was here to stay (alas not for long enough), Cabaret stems from the Weimar Berlin stories by Christopher Isherwood who based his main character (he is the other one!) Sally Bowles on the British often naked teenage libertine flapper-actress-singer-writer Jean Ross – later Communist , Spanish civil war correspondent and lover of jazz pianist (later actor) Peter van Eyck .On her father’s advice, Minnelli (rejected for the Broadway production!) chanelled Louise  Brooks as Sally. Isherwood said Liza was too talented such a “mediocre” singer.  Never said what he thought of her ten rivals: Ursula Andfess, Julie Andrews, Ann-Margret, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Jill Ireland (!), Glenda Jackson, Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand, Brenda Vaccaro, Natalie Wood.  Plus Julie Christie… with Warren Beatty as her gay pal Brian!

  42. Mia Farrow, The Great Gatsby, 1973.  
    Gatz the bootlegger was Robert Redford. Natalie, one of his favourite co-stars, was sought  for Daisy. Except she refused to test – a logical request as she’d only made one film in seven years. Those who did test were  Candice Bergen, Genevieve Bujold, Lois Chiles (she won the other girl – the “fast” Jordan Baker), Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Katharine Ross, Tuesday Weld  – after Paramount’s owner Charles Bludhorn ruled that Ali MacGraw, wed to the studio’s production chief, Robert Evans, “is not doing this picture. Is. That. Clear?”  Bergen and Farrow went to the wire.  Producer David Merrick wanted “aristocratic looks, hard to find in an actress.”  Farrow won the tests – with the looks of a ‘flu victim with a 103 temperature. And Chiles became the “fast” Jordan “Baker. Time magazine critic  Jay Cocks decreed: “The film is faithful to the letter of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel but entirely misses its point.” 

  43. Julie Christie, Don’t Look Now, 1973.   Originally, real-marrieds Wagner and Natalie Wood, were suggested for Daphne Du Maurier;s couple grieving over the death of their young daughter. Beingt overly Hollywood, hey probably  would have  refused the  love scene  made famous (infamous, if you’re  the Irish censor who cut it out!)  by Christie and Donald Sutherland. Then again, it was a last minute idea from Roeg to to help make the argumentative couple more likeable.

  44. Faye Dunaway, The Towering Inferno, 1974.    And yet she refused the towering epic – even though her RJ was among the stars: Fred Astaire, William Holden, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman etc. Nat called it “boring, insipid and worthless.” Which didn’t say much for RJ’s choices? Or those of Astaire, Dunaway, Holden, McQueen, Newman, etc. (They all had bills to pay). But then Natalie selected the far inferior epic, Meteor, 1979… just to play a Russian!

  45. Marilyn Hassett, The Other Side of the Mountain, 1974.  She fled the mountain and the role… in what Time  Out called an  “embarrassing tearjerker wrung out of the real-life tragedy of a girl paralysed by a fall on the eve of selection as an Olynpic skier.” There was a sequel in 1977. No better.

  46. 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 when a 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 got the Oscar. And hubby Terry O’Neill got his classic Morning After photo!.  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.”
  47. Sally Field, Sybil, TV, 1976.  
    Based on a real case, Sybil had multiple personalities – 16 of them!  Patty Duke, Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood were up for them. Field was more determined. I had worked my whole life – lived my whole life – to play this rôle. I knew her. She belonged to me.  Through April and May,  Sal kept reading, testing, auditioning, call  it what you will, in her baggy, ragamuffin clothes, for four people in a business  office, including the ldast interesteddirector Anthony Page, who wanted Vanessa Redgrave. (Who wouldn’t?said Sal). She would leave the group stunned, totally confused.  How on earth could The Flying Nun be the best choice!  To prove she was wrong for the part – or right! – she tested with Joanne Woopdward, who’d  been here before in The Three Faces of Eve, 1956, and was now set for Sybil’s shrink. (She had been asked to be Sybil).  After the videotaping, Woodward told the suits: If Sally is not cast as Sybil, then I won’t be your Dr Wilbur.sband art” Oh, and Daniel Petrie directed. Sal won an Emmy, with two Oscars to come In her now, non-airborne future.  (Natalie had nothing against TV.  Rhona 21, her production ompany with husband Robert Wagner was behind such series as  Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Vega$ and Hart To Hart). 

  48. Kathleen Quinlan, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, 1977.   .Making Inside Daisy Clover, 1965, Natalie got to know the film’s Britishauthor and scenarist Gavin Lambert – and tried toproduce his new scenario(with directorSydney Pollack, then Mark Rydell).
  49. Bibi Andersson, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, 1977.     This is one of two passion-projects thatgot away – unlike Rebel Without A Cause, A Cry in the Night, Marjorie Morningstar, Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story, Inside Daisy Clover, This Property Is Condemned.  By the time Rose Garden reached fruitiona full decade later, Nat was too old for the schizo mental patient.  And not so keen on playing her shrink.
  50. Margot Kidder, Superman, 1977.

  51. Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979.   In the mid-50s, Columbia Pictures pounced on the re-make rights to the 1923 (!)  novel by  Henry De Vere Stacpoole – for Natalie to play tweenger Emmeline, shipwrecked on a Pacific island  with a handsome lad.  Love, nude swimming and sex arrive which turned many young actresses off the role, including Natalie who was usually quite forward, shall we say (Dennis Hopper certainly did). Consequently, the project was shelved until the late 70s for Brooke, 17,  and two nude doubles. Jean Simmons, 19,  beat Marilyn Monroe, 22,  to Emmeline in a 1948 UK film – the first of seven re-treads of the 1922 original.
  52. 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 – and he chose  it for  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.
  53. Elizabeth Taylor,The Mirror Crack’d, 1980.  Liz would but Natalie would not…  lower her fee to $250,000.  Besides she had no wish to play an ageing  actress. Or, an ageing anybody, come to that.
  54. Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice, 1982.    Even more bizarre than the unsuitable “Natasha,” novelist William Styron revealed that.. when writing the novel, he envisioned Ursual Andress as Sophie!

  55. !Jessica Lange, Frances, 1982.      
    Howard Hawks  said  she always seemed to be shining. “More talent than anyone I ever worked with.” She and Vivien Leigh were beaten by Ingrid Bergman to For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1942.   She’s the subject of various books, plays (viz Sally Clarke’s Saint Frances of Hollywood),  pop and rock songs  – French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer even took her name. All actresses loved her talent and guts (when wrongfully committed to asylums by her parents) and  wanted to ply…  Frances Farmer.  From the sublime to the ridiculous: Meryl Streep to Susan Dey  of TV’s Partridge Family. Kim Basinger tested with Sam Shepard (Lange’s husband). Undaunted Susan Blakely made her own 1983  TVersion (from Farmer’s book, Will There Really Be A Morning?). Plus Anne Archer, Blythe Danner, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Glenda Jackson, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Katharine Ross, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. Plus Constance Money, who met  with  producer  Mel Brooks and debuting director Graeme Clifford. They liked her. Not her CV. Seven porno fikms in three years.  Even if they used her real name (Sue Jensen), someone would have blown an expensive whistle about her hardcore career.

  56. Susan Blakely, Will There Really Be Morning? TV, 1983.    And this is the other passion-project that slipped away… The Frances Farmer biopic was the second mental health drama she tried to developin 1966. TV star Blakely (among the co-stars of Nat’s husband Robert Wagner in The Towering Inferno), won the rights and held every other actress at bay, playing Francis, herself. Triumphantly.  Wood, Ann-Margret, and  Michelle Phillips just had to gnash their shiney whites and applaud her.
  57. Stefanie Powers, Hart To Hart, TV, 1979-1984.     Sidney Sheldon created the couple. Director Tom Mankiewicz flew to Hawaii to convince Natlie and RJ to duet. Wagner answered for both:“I sell soap. My wife sells tickets.”She walked-on in the pilot, dressed as her favourite character, Scarlett O’Hara, and was credited under her real name. Natasha Gurdin.