Richard Egan

  1. Randolph Scott, Seven Men From Now, 1955.     Actor pal Paul Fix brought Burt Kennedy’s script to Batjac, better than anything John Wayne had read since The Searchers – which he’d just finished., so too early for another vengeful Western. Gary Cooper, Joel McCrea and Robert Preston passed. Wayne fell heavily for Richard Egan: “the most manly guy I’ve seen on the screen since Gable.” Head brother Jack Warner did not agree. Mitchum then tried to buy the project. Finally, as producer, Duke rescued Scott’s fading career with this first of five Westerns (programers, really) with director Budd Boetticher – all written by Kennedy for Wayne… who eventually let Kennedy direct him in The War Wagon, 1966, and The Train Robbers, 1972.
  2. Robert Stack, Great Day in the Morning, 1956.   First studio idea for the  hero in  a disappointing Western from director Jacques Tourneur.  Egan or Stack? Not much of a choice.
  3. Raymond Burr, Perry Mason, TV, 1957-1966.   When the overweight Burr agreed to shed 60 lbs to be the LA DA Hamilton Burger, he was the perfect Mason. Also in the mix for the defence attorney who rarely lost a case were Egan, Richard Carlson, , William Holden, William Hopper (he became Mason’s private eye, Paul Drake), Fred MacMurray, John Shelton, William Tallman (given Ham Burger (!), instead). “We couldn’t afford a big star,” explained producer Gail Patrick Jackson. No shows did in the 50s – they simply made big stars. Such as two other Mason wannabes: Mike Connors (becoming Mannix, 1967-1975) and Efrem Zimbalist Jr (77 Sunset Strip, 1958-1964).
  4. John Gavin, Imitation of Life, 1958. Dropping plans for a musical rehash (!) of the 1933 weepie, producer Ross Hunter went straight.  And  straight to the best soap-opera director Douglas Sirk,  Deborah Kerr and, inexplicably, Egan. The title perfectly summed up Sirk’s movies.  And Egan.
  5. Clint Eastwood, Where Eagles Dare, 1968. An early thought for Lieutenant  Morris Schaffer.  When disguised in  a Wehrmacht uniform, writer Geoff Dyer said Clint “is not just squinting, he is squinting in German.”

 Birth year: 1921Death year: 1987Other name: Casting Calls:  6