Susan Strasberg

  1. Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause, 1955.  Strasberg, Carroll Baker, Patricia (later Pat), Crowley, Peggy Ann Garner, Jayne Mansfield, Margaret O’Brien, Lee Remick,  Debbie Reynolds and Lois Smith were also in the Judy mix – only Baker was recommended by James Dean and Elia Kazan.   She tested for Nicholas Ray and then her husband, Jack Garfein, ordered her back to New York, knowing how Ray tended to test girls in his bed.  
  2. Fran Bennett, Giant, 1955.
  3. Heather Sears,  The Story of  Esther Costello,  1956.     One year earlier, Sam Fuller was due  to writer-direct but could never obtain any of the actresses on his short-list for the mute and blind heroine: Joan Collins, Jean Simmons,  Natalie Wood.  Romulus made it a UK film, and Sears  won the British Academy Award for Best Actress.  Joan Crawford played her wealthy protector.
  4. Diane Varsi, Peyton Place, 1957.      Not content with interfering with Marilyn Monroe’s career, fundamentalist Method-ists Lee and Paula Strasberg forbade their child to make this film. “Playing Lana Turner’s daughter is beneath you.”Or them.
  5. Millie Perkins, The Diary of Anne Frank, 1958.   The  poor teenage Holocaust heroine deserved better than this…   Director George Stevens’ collected papers mentions reported a major search for a “new face” for the Holocaust heroine. More than 2,000 girls were seen in Europe (particularly Amsterdam where she lived) and Israel… such as Oshra El Kayam, Karin Wolfe. Plus actresses Perkins, Marianne Sarstadt, Janet Margolin, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood – and Broadway’s Anne, Susan Strasberg ; she felt that playing her 717 times on stage was more than enough. Anne’s father, Otto Frank suggested Audrey Hepburn. She was born just 39 days before Anne was now too old (29) to play a teenager. Also, she had no wish to relive the the Nazi horrors she had seen growing up in Holland.
  6. Elana Eden, The Story of Ruth, 1960.       “All The Spectacle Of Heathen Idolatry, Human Sacrifice, Pagan Revels – All The Beauty Of One Of The Bible’s Timeless Love Stories!”  Director Henry Koster and producer Samuel  G Engel saw (allegedly) about 300 actressess for the Biblical Ruth,testing just 29… including Diane Baker, Myrna Fahey, Ulla Jacobsson (Ingmar Bergman’s Swedish  discovery),  Susan Kohner, Tina Louise and Millie Perkins. But Engel bowed to studio pressure about the Israeli Eden (ex-Cooper), one of George Stevens’ final five possibles for The Diary of Anne Frank, 1958,  won by… Perkins.   


 Birth year: 1938Death year: 1999Other name: Casting Calls:  6