Samantha Eggar

  1. Jo Morrow, Our Man in Havana, 1960.      Novelist Graham Greene picked her to star in a film of his Living Room.  That collapsed and he suggested her as Alec Guinness’ daughter in the Cuban yarn.
  2. Jean Seberg, Lilith, 1963.   Before director Robert Rossen insisted on Seberg, Warren Beatty had been promoting Eggar, his latest redhead, for the titular role. He was also “fascinated” by Romy Schneider… while author JR Salamanca voted for Diane Cilento (Mrs Sean Connery at the time). Yvette Mimieux discovered the book and sent it to various directors, including Robert Rossen. Unfortunately, her dream role was thwarted by his lengthy decision-making. Also in the mix: Diane Baker, Sarah Miles (too busy with her secret lover, Laurence Olivier) and Natalie Wood. Seberg, who never understood why it was not given to Audrey Hepburn, was delighted to win. “I’d really begun to reach the end of my little American girls in Paris.”
  3. Julie Andrews, Torn Curtain, 1965.  When he couldn’t re-unite  his memorable North by Northwest couple, Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, Alfred Hitchcock  told me – in London, 1966 – that Universal elbowed him towards the  better box-office bets: Paul Newman and Julie Andrews.  They were pals, but didn’t ignite… anything. Meanwhile Cary Grant started his final movie, Walk Don’t Run – ironically with Samantha, also on the Hitch list for Sarah Sherman. From the outset, it was obvious that for his “50th” film, Hitch  craved people he knew and enjoyed rather than newcomers foisted on hm by Universal.
  4. Katharine Houghton, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, 1966.     On  July 5 that year, Columbia Pictures agreed on the script’s four stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier and Sam…(Mariette Hartley had also been considered). But Hepburn  had a niece who happened to be an actress in need of a leg up…  And the British redhead, good enough  for such legends as Cary Grant and  William Wyler  in  her previous two assignments, was out. But  Hepburn  had a niece who happened to be an actress in need of a lcg up…  The  way she treated her (“Spencer thinks you’re the most ungrateful person in the world… [after]  I’ve done all of this for you.  You’re so ungrateful!”),  that Houghton couldn’t wait to quit Hollywood as soon as filming wrapped. .(Even though, Tracy had explained: “Your aunt  is just a big fuss.”
  5. Sandy Dennis, Sweet November, 1968.  The Doctor Dolittle pairing of Sam and Tony Newley was set for a reprise until Sandy’s rise at Warners: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? Up The Down Staircase, The Fox.  In fact, November began her fall. (The disastrous 2000 re-make was so awful it wound up among the Razzies’ 100 worst movies. Well…  Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves never gelled).
  6. Petula Clark, Goodbye Mr. Chips, 1969.  For the musical version of the 1938 classic which won British Robert Donat an Oscar for his gentle schoolmaster, Mr Charles Edward Chipping, almost every  possible Brit was contacted. From Albert Finney  to Peter  Sellers, by way of Richard Harris, Christopher Plummer and Paul Scofield. Mrs Chips was important, too, and the couple went from Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn or Doctor Dolittle‘s Rex Harrison-Samantha Eggar to Camelot’s Richard Burton-Julie Andrews or Burton-Lee Remick…or surprise, surprise, Burton-Elizabeth Taylor. Plus Burton-Petula Clark, except he turned down “a singer!” (What was Julie Andrews?).  Finally, and gloriously, the Chips became Pete ‘n’ Pet.  
  7. Jacqueline Bisset, The Deep, 1976.   Wanted.   By Columuia Pictures. Someone… anyone  “looking like Ursula Andress in a bikini.”  (So why didn’t they ask her to be Gail?)  Bisset beat fellow Brits Samantha Eggar, Charlotte Rampling, plus Candice Bergen, Katharine Ross and newcomers Susan Blakely, Christina Raines. But disliking the “silly and unfair” Andress line, she refused to be forced into a wet tee-shir!!   Still rjding the wave of The Detective, Bullitt, Airport, etc, she wanted Nick Nolte’s second billing.  He refused.  Until meeting her
  8. Susan Sullivan, Falcon Crest, TV, 1981-1990.    Sam was The  Heroine (the Pam Ewing)  of the soap – Maggie Giberti Channing –  in the unaired  pilot, The Vintage Years. Sullivan took over for the first nine seasons of what was nearly  Vulture’s Nest, Falcon Ridge, Falcon Valle – or  even Falcon Ridge,  the  name of Rudolph Valentino’s Beverly Hills home. 


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  8