Richard Todd


  1. Michael Rennie, The 13th Letter, 1950. Josdeph Cotten turned into Todd who turned into Rennie for director-ogre Otto Preminger’s take on Henri-Georges Clouzot’s French classic, Le corbeau. Titles also changed from The Last Letter and The Scarlet Pen. So did the name of “Dr” Charles Boyer’s wife to Cora from… oh no!… Laura.

  2. Alan Ladd, The Red Beret (US: Paratrooper), 1953.    The stiffest upper lip in UK films belonged to Todd, a real red beret, a WWII officer in 7th Battalion Parachute Regiment. Consequently, having been there, he found  the script “too far fetched.” Todd would have been cheaper than Ladd’s $200,000 plus 10% of the gross after $2m. (The film cleared $8m).  Nine years later the same trio – producer  Cubby Broccoli, writer Richard Maibaum  and director Terence Young – thought of Todd for a chap named Bond, James Bond. In Dr No. Ladd’s co-star Susan Steophen wouid have been a perfect Bond Girl, a  cool forerunner of Gemma Arterton and Rosamund Pike.

  3. Robert Stack, John Paul Jones,  1958.    Warner Bros bought a Jones bio, Clear for Action, for Cagney in 1939.  WWII delayed everything until 1946 when it sank again. Producer Samuel Bronston then agreed to swop his rights to a Charles Lindbergh story for the Jones property and William Dieterle was due to direct with either Hollywood’s Basehart or the UK’s Richard Todd (the most recent Robin Hood) as the American Revolutionary War naval hero.  (The Lindbergh film, The Spirit of St Louis, starring James Stewart, was shot first in 1955).

  4. John Derek, The Ten Commandments,1954.  
  5. David Niven, The Guns of Navarone, 1961.       Obviously, the Scots-Irish  Richard Andrew Palethorpe Todd didn’t see himself, a Paratroop Regiment officer, as a humble corporal. Nor did Niven: “I was miscast.Too old. But it was one of my best performances.”

  6. Sean Connery, Dr No, 1962.

  7. Bill Fraser, Doctor Who #110: Meglos, TV, 1980.      Co-writer John Flanagan created General Grugger for Lee Marvin (!) – and was staggered when new producer John Nathan-Taylor chose Fraser, a sitcom clown. Akin to subbing Marvin with Phil Silvers. Some thought was also given to four Z Cars cops – Brian Blessed, James Ellis, Stratford Johns, Frank Windsor – and the Houston brothers, Donald and Glyn. Plus Todd, Harry Andrews, Bernard Archard, Peter Cushing, Ronald Fraser, Peter Gilmore, TP McKenna, Donald Pleasence, Leonard Sachs, George Sewell, Nigel Stock, John Stratton and Peter Vaughan… very familiar names on Nathan-Taylor’s casting (dart) board throughout his eclectic and scandalous 80s reign.

  8. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984.   
  9. Aubrey Morris, Lifeforce, 1984.  



 Birth year: 1919Death year: 2009Other name: Casting Calls:  9