Stuart Whitman


  1. Jeffrey Hunter, The True Story of Jesse James, 1957.    Early casting for Frank James –  but he would have buried the lightweight Robert Wagner’s Jesse.  The following year, they co-starred for In Love and War, 1958.   There is much of  Colin Farrell in Whitman.
  2. Jack Kelly, Maverick, TV, 1957-1962.   Whitman and Rod Taylor were seen for  Bart Maverick. Kelly was the only one of the four Maverick boys to star in all five seasons – 83 episodes.  James Garner was Bret in  60 shows,  Roger  Moore became Beau(regard) for 16, and Robert Colbert was Brent for the  final three.  And the next Pub Quiz question is…
  3. Ricky Nelson, Rio Bravo, 1958.
  4. Rod Taylor, Ask Any Girl, 1958.    MGM asked to borrow Whitman and his Fox slave masters refused.  After all, they had such great plans for him that year…  Ten North Frederick and loan-outs to Warner, John Wayne’s Batjac company and, yes, even MGM when The Decks Ran Red.
  5. John Gavin, Psycho, 1959.  Alfred Hitchcock took his time finding Sam Loomis, lover of the shock shower-murder  victim, Janet Leigh in his the low budget, “TV-style” Paramount movie #9401   He saw Brian Keith, Robert Loggia, Leslie Nielsen, Cliff Robertson, Rod Taylor announced plans to produce a film entitled “Spartacus and the Gladiators’ The Birds) and Tom Tryon.  Hitch’s favourite was Stuart Whitman but loaning Universal contract actor John Gavin suited the cheaper budget – but not the role. Hitch called him… The Stiff. Hardly news as Gavin had made two Alfred Hitchcock Hour episodes: Run For Doom, 1963, and Off Season, 1965.Oh, and  Hitch kept Rod Taylor for his next one: The Birds. “As always,” laughed Rod, “I thought: What the fuck am I doing here?”      
  6. Tom Tryon, The Cardinal, 1963.   The sudden blip in producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger’s track record was caused by lamentable casting. Tyron, happier later as a novelist, was never the actor Otto tried to force him to be…   during the rise and rise of the titular Vatican favourite, reportedly based on New York’s powerful (and Senator Joe McCarthy loving) Cardinal Spellman. Preminger tested three bores Tyron, Bradford Dillman, Cliff Robertson; considered total opposites Hugh O’Brian, Stuart Whitman; and, according to Tyron, refused the better Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole, even the (way too old) Gregory Peck.
  7. James Franciscus, Youngblood Hawke, 1964.   Truck driver makes good as a writer… At 27, Warren Beatty needed money and beat singer Bobby Darin, Terence Stamp (at 26 a year younger than Beatty) and the too old (36) George Peppard and Stuart Whitman to a mediocre Warners quickie based on Herman Wouk’s book. Beatty just never signed any contract. And so, Jack Warner canned him and slashed the budget – from colour to monochrome. And never forgave… “Warner Beaker.”
  8. Pat Boone, Goodbye Charlie, 1964.    Marilyn Monroe-Frank Sinatra-Whitman became Debbie Reynolds-Tony Curtis-Boone. Whitman’s career quickly  dissipated into z-schlock and TV guest   over the next 40 (quiet)  years.
  9. Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
  10. Tony Curtis, The Boston Strangler, 1967.     “Tony Curtis acts better than he has in a decade,” noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert. He was right, as always. Yet the filmn flopped and all but buried the Curtis career, dwindling ever downward into such garbage as Lobster Man From Mars, Tartzan in Manhattan, The Mummy Lives and Christmas in Connecticut directed by… Arnold Schwarzenegger. So maybe Warren Beatty, Horst Buchholz, Robert Redford and Stuart Whitman were right to refuse go play Albert DeSalvo.

  11. Doug McClure, The Land That Time  Forgot, 1974.    The  US co-producers, AIP refused finance a film with Whitman. So Amicus, the UK end, deep-sixed him from The Movie That You Should Forget… Or, The Effects That Time Has Not Been Kind To…
  12. Alex Cord,  Inn of the Damned, Australia, 1973.   Stu had to quit due to family reasons and Kincaid went to Cord in the so-called Oxploitation chiller – nicknamed  “Hitchcock on horseback.” 
  13. Christopher Reeve, Rear Window, TV, 1998.   Way back in  April 1977, Whitman obtained the  rights for a two-hour TV re-make.  CUT to November 21, 1998, and  Hallmark made it with a truly disabled hero –  Reeve in his first role since being paralysed in a horse fall in 1995. Daryl Hannah filled in for Grace Kelly.  Barely.
  14. Laurence Harvey, Welcome To Arrow Beach, 1973.   An el cheapo horrorfest from Brut, of all companies.  Harvey’s final film  was good for him (his cannibal had some fine moments), not for us. Whitman refused the lead role, preferring a cameo as sheriff John Ireland’s deputy. (Well, that meant a great interrogation of Meg Foster). Whole thing re-released as Tender Flesh.








 Birth year: 1928Death year: 2020Other name: Casting Calls:  14