Sylvia Miles

  1. Rose Marie, The Dick Van Dyke Show, TV, 1961-1966.  .   Anatomy of a TV  classic… After the cumbersomely titled pilot, The Comedy Spot: Head of the Family. 1960 the creator (and star) Carl Reiner sat on it for a year, then  showed it to producer Sheldon Leonard. ”Has potential,” he opined. “Needs better actors –  including your part.”  So a total reboot, all five main characters were re-cast. (One  or two was the norm,  but five – that was a first for US TV!).  Reiner became the boss, Alan Brady. Barbara Britton’s Laura Petrie became, “ya know, da girl with three names” – Mary Tyler Moore. Dick Van Dyke, the guy with three names and Broadway’s latest smash (in three more names,  Bye Bye Birdie),became Rob Petrie, new head of both familes. At home. And at the the office… derived from the writers’ bullpen at Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, TV, 1950-1954, with Buddy and Brady based on Mel Brooks and Sid Caesar.  And  wherein the writers. Sylvia Miles (remember her 1968 Midnight Cowboy hooker?) and Morty Gunty. were replaced by Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam. The Petrie’s son, Ritchie, was switched from Gary Morgan to Larry Matthews. The biggest star of them all proved to be… da girl with three names! 
  2. Joan Collins, The Big Sleep, 1977.     Miles was all set for the very British Sleep, after having made the previous Philip Marlowe re-boot, Farewell My Lovely “Except,” Miles told Roger Ebert, “they had already signed Sarah Miles and so they they thought people would confuse us Mileses. Isn’t that ridiculous?” Robert Mitchum was in both re-treads, the only actor to play Marlowe twice…  and indeed, drunk (he said) for much of the time.  
  3. Lydia Lei, Hammett, 1981.   From first being phoned by the producer,  Francis Coppola, to the 1982 Cannes festival premiere, it took nearly five years, three directors (Nicolas Roeg was first aboard, then Wim Wenders for “a long, amazing experience – too good to be true” and then Coppola re-shot the whole damn thing), four scenarists and 40 script drafts to complete Zoetrope’s hommage by committee.  Sylvia and Brian Keith) were among the people dumped along the way. 

 Birth year: 1924Death year: 2019Other name: Casting Calls:  3