Topsy Jane

1. –  June Ritchie, A Kind of Loving, 1962. Missing her first John Schlesinger classic.

2. – Julie Christie,  Billy  Liar,  1963.  And her second… proved the making  of a superstar.  Brit director John  Schlesinger saw  Julie in Town Magazine  –  “That’s  Lizzie!”  –  and recalled seeing her drama school’s Diary of Anne Frank.  “She had promise and I tracked her down.  She’d  been on holiday in Spain…  all  bronzed  and glamorous.  She read with Tom Courtenay and we gave her a second test but I thought she was just too good to be true.  Too much of a  beautiful, earthy  young creature for the part…  of a nice, ordinary North Country girl,  an earth mother figure. So, I hired Topsy. She’d played it on stage. Well, Topsy fell sick and I took another look at Julie’s test and decided to see her again. I didn’t realise until the rushes what an extraordianry quality she projects.”  She was paid $3,000 for just eleven minutes in the film, including her  (literal) walk  to stardom.  “A  beautiful  walk to lovely music,”  recalled Schlesinger.  After a brief TV series, United!, 1965, Topsy was never heard of again.


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