Sophie Tucker

  1. Gracie Fields, Molly and Me, 1945. Strange swap… Last of the Yiddishe Mommas for the UK’s North Country comic singer…   MGM wanted Tucker to play, well, MGM’s surprise superstar Marie Dressler really…  Fox went with Fields, the UK singer-comic.  MGM scenarist Frances Marion was Marie’s close friend and always wrote parts in  for her when she was on her uppers – even considering a domestic gig. The novel was Marion’s version of what if the battleship  Dressler knocked on your door in answer to a housemaid ad. (Apparently, she had cook-housekeepered during a fallow stage period). Marie always said Marion saved her life… The actress  was planning to jump to her death from her apartment on the very day that the writer  managed to locate her for The Callhans and the Murphys, 1926. The film triumphed, MGM snapped Dressler up, she won an an Oscar in 1931 and  was 1933’s  #1 box-office star. Sophie, a Broadway, vaudeville, cabaret, clubs and burlesque star for 50 years, made three films only. Our Gracie, as the Brits called her, starred in 15. Few Brits could name any.
  2. Ethel Merman, It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, 1962.    Producer-director Stanley Kramer’s movie was stuffed full with stars – mainly comics. Not all agreed to join  the party, being terrified at the prospect of working with the great Spencer Tracy.  Sophie, the Russian-born burlesque queen and her screen equivalent, Mae West, were  sought for Mrs Marcus. finally given to the Broadway queen.  When Groucho Marx was asked  play a cameo, he said it was … Mrs Marcus!


 Birth year: 1884Death year: 1966Other name: Casting Calls:  2