Sonny Tufts

  1. Fred MacMurray, Standing Room Only,1943.   The salesman and his secretary became butler and maid at a mansion (just for accommodation) during their business trip to an overcrowded WWII Washington…  The daffy couple went went from Fred MacMurray and Rosalind Russell,… to Tufts and Paulette Goddard… before being  solved by splitting the difference. MacMurray and Goddard!
  2. Burt Lancaster, The Killers, 1946.  The guy better known in Hollywood as “Sony Tufts??!!!passed (too quickly) on  The Swede…  it became the breakthrough role for the beefy unknown Lancaster.
  3. William Holden, Dear Ruth. 1946.   Tufts was due to be Lieutenant William Seacroft, home from WWII. But so, for real, was Holden.  There was a similar  muddle in the movie – as was  intent on marrying his pen pal, Ruth Wilkins Joan Caulfield). Only it was her kid sister (Mona Freeman) who had been penning the pal… Two  more chapterst followed. Dear Wife, about Ruth and Bill’s married life and Dear Brat  – but you’ve guessed it – about Mona Freeman’s Miriam.
  4. John Wayne, The Alamo, 1959.     Sonny Tufts ??!!!   As Jim Bowie??!!!  Well, that was on spec during the long history of John Wayne trying to make his pet project. Tufts even gave up booze and kept sober for an entire year to earn the role. .
  5. Richard  Widmark, The Alamo, 1960.    He had 26 screen roles under his belt. And a booze problem.  He made a major effort and remained sober for a year in order to stay on Duke’s wish list. For Jim Bowie.  But to appease his backers,  John Wayne (also directing)  played Davy Crockett instead of Widmark, who then became Jim Bowie instead of…  Sonny Tufts??!! 
  6. Alan Ladd, The Carpetbaggers,1963.    Tufts hadn’t made a film in six years.  Lots of TV, no movies. He as, therefore, a surprise choice (except he was cheap) for the killer-turned-Western-star, Nevada Smith – final role of the great Alan Ladd, who died, at 50, before the premiere of this  first of New York producer Joseph E Levine’s three snitty/snotty movies about Hollywood – followed by Harlow, 1964 (also with Baker),  and  The Oscar, 1965. Each one was worse than the precedent.


 Birth year: 1911Death year: 1970Other name: Casting Calls:  6