Roger Livesey

  1. Ian Hunter, The Phantom Light, 1934.    The  first time director  Michael Powell tried to use his future Colonel Blimp, the “lovely, husky voice” of the  “broad-shouldered, golden-hairerd Viking” actor was the Old Vic did not please the “very conventional,  not to  say suburban” producer Michael Balcon.
  2. Cary Grant, Gunga Din, 1938.     Arriving at RKO, Howard Hawks- The Grey Fox- wanted Livesey (or Robert Donat), Robert Montgomery, and Spencer Tracy as his Kipling heroes. However, the director’sRKO screwballer, Bringing Up Baby, flopped. He was out, George Stevens was in. Well in, second only toGone With The Wind in 1939.
  3. Eric Portman, A Canterbury Tale, 1944.     Because he did not understand the part, Livesey found it “distasteful,” said director Michael Powell – who saw his perfect team for the squire and the land-girl (Colonel Blimp‘s  Livesey and Deborah Kerr ) slip from his grasp. And in Kerr’s case,  from his bed
  4. Trevor Howard, Brief Encounter, 1945.     Blimp strikes again. Livesey was now director David Lean’s first choice as the doctor falling for Celia Johnson… until Lean saw Howard glow in one scene of The Way To The Stars.  Same thing would happen with Marlon Brando in one scene of The Young Lions – except he never agreed to sign on
  5. Charles Laughton, Hobson’s Choice, 1954.      First choice again but Lean’s life-long production manager, Norman Spencer, felt Livesey was over-rated while Laughton was an authentic Lancastrian.  Lean adored “Charlie” and cited  Laurence Olivier’s comment  when asked  if he had ever worked with a genius:  “Yes, one.  Charles Laughton.”


 Birth year: 1906Death year: 1976Other name: Casting Calls:  5