Tuesday Weld


  1. Betty Lou Keim, Teenage Rebel, 1956.  Having ruinously re-titled Edith Summer’s play, A Roomful of Roses, Fox found it impossible to persuade Betty Grable to mother Weld.  Opposite Ginger Rogers as Mom, Keim repeated her Broadway triumph, superbly.“Impudent, funny, devastatingly attractive, widly talented and totally nuts,” said one of her ex-lovers, the 007 and Superman scenarist  Tom Mankiewicz. She made her first suicide attempt at 12 – she tried again later; she never knew he father and her mother topped any list of the worst show biz mommas, she made Gypsy Rose Lee’s Mom look like a girl scout “She was also the only actress I’ve met in 50 years who desperately tried to avoid becoming
  2. Millie Perkins, The Diary of Anne Frank, 1958.     The  poor teenage Holocaust heroine deserved better than this… Director George Stevens’ collected papers reported a major search for a “new face” for Anne. 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, Weld, Janet Margolin, Marianne Sarstadt, Natalie Wood – and Broadway’s Anne, Susan Strasberg. 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.
  3. Sue Lyon, Lolita, 1960.      
  4. Shirley Knight, Flight From Ashiya, 1963.   Despite a huge age difference, Weld  was first listed for Richard Widmark’s wife. He was 49 to her 20.   Knight was 27. “When I was younger,” said Weld, “I tested a great deal and never got anything.  Anything I’ve gotten was because the director wanted me – and that’s it.” (Not every time. She cited director Noel Black and Pretty Poison, 1968, as a bad experience, on-screen and off).
  5. Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde, 1966.
  6. Katharine Ross, The Graduate, 1967.     Broadway genius Mike Nichols came to town and saw, tested, auditioned almost every  babe of the correct age for Mrs Robinson’s daughter.   From Baby Doll to Lolita, by way of Saint Joan and The Flying Nun… Weld, Ann-Margret, Elizabeth Ashley, Carroll Baker, Candice Bergen, Patty Duke, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Sue Lyon, Carol Lynley, Hayley Mills, Yvette Mimieux, Suzanne Pleshette, Lee Remick, Jean Seberg, Pamela Tiffin, Natalie Wood. Having played Games with her that year, Simone Signoret recommended Ross to Nichols.
  7. Mia Farrow, Rosemary’s Baby, 1968.     “No actress,” said actor Roddy McDowell, “was ever so good in so many bad films.” Director Roman Polanski  wanted her”pure, American looks to contrast the film’s dark undertones.” Producer William Castle did not.
  8. Kim Darby, True Grit, 1968.    No way! John Wayne wanted his daughter, Aissa, playing Mattie Ross – and he did not gell well with Darby. Too unprofessional for him. (Didn’t prevent him winning his Oscar as Marshall Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn).Producer Hal B Wallis looked over many possible Matties: Geneviève Bujold (who became his Anne of the Thousand Days), singer Karen Carpenter (a Duke idea), Mia Farrow (who kicked herself for refusing), Sally Field, Jaclyn Smith, Tuesday Weld. Plus past and future Duke co-stars Michele El Dorado Carey and Jennifer Rio Lobo Neill –  written off by Wallis as “tall, inexperienced.”  
  9. Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon, 1968.Julie Andrews  (and her usual reserve: Sally Ann Howes), Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow and  Lesley Ann Warren refused to be the rose between two thorns, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin  Diana Rigg proved unwell. Kim Novak pounced.  But the US star of the French nouvelle vague won Elizabeth and, for a while, Eastwood. Joshua Logan had always wanted Tuescday.  “When are you shooting?” she asked.   September. “Oh damn, I can’t do it. September and October  are the two best months of the year at the

  10. Anita Pallenberg, Performance, 1968.
    “Warners wanted to burn the film,” co-helmer Nic Roeg told me in London. “They said even the bath water was dirty!” Losing Tuesday as Pherber (busted shoulder) greatly increased the rock mystique as the truly stoned Pallenberg was the lover of first Brian Jones,  then Keith Richards – and legend insists Mick Jagger screwed her    in the film. “She was extraordinary, amazing,” said Nic Roeg.  “I’ve been bloody lucky with women.”  Not with critics, Richard Schickel called it “the  most disgusting, the most completely worthless film I have ever  seen.”  He was so wrong. Ask Quentin Tarantino.

  11. Natalie Wood, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, 1969.    Carol…  Faye Dunaway anf Janer Fonda also refused. “I’d just slip out of things if I didn’t want them, if it wasn’t the right time. I mean, we’re not machines.Or, some of us aren’t.” Above all, she did not want superstardom – “and Bob and Carol and Fred and Sue or whatever it was called… reeked of success.”
  12. Goldie Hawn, The Cactus Flower, 1969.     “With the studio heading it, it’s rarely a director’s world.He’ll have the garment district telling him what to do – and I will not subject myself to that.” And the support actress Oscar goes to… one of the few stars not hurt by the award.Goldie went on to make a further 26 movies, 1970-2002.
  13. Jennie Linden, Women In Love, 1969.     Glenda Jackson (and her new, improved, pregnant breasts) had the better role of Gudrun.   While MacLaine (anti-nudity), Faye Dunaway, Vanessa Redgrave (never anti-nudity, calling her body part of her acting instrument), Tuesday Weld and Carol White were up for Ursula. Alan Bates and Oliver Reed, made sure they were up for each other. For their famous nude wrestling,
  14. Francesca Annis, Macbeth, 1971.     Director Roman Polanski wanted her again. – for Lady Macbeth.”She declined the nude sleepwalking scene” for the Playboy production.
  15. Kay Lenz, Breezy, 1972.       For William Holden’s perfect mistress – young, sassy, sexy – third time director Clint Eastwood chose Kay over Tuesday, Jo Ann HarrisHarris (dating Clint since 1970), Lauren Hutton, Cybill Shepherd and Deborah Winters. Kay was then sought for and spurned almost everything – The Accused, Fatal Attraction, Hannah And Her Sisters, Once Upon A Time in America (for Weld’s role),  The Terminator, Thelma and Louise  -and, therefore, never reached the stardom she deserved in her 115 roles (up to 2020).

  16. Mia Farrow, The Great Gatsby, 1973.      
    The definitive Daisy (she later played Zelda Fitzgerald on TV) refused to test. “They were testing Faye Dunaway, the biggest names.  So, I said: ‘Are you kidding?’  Jack Clayton said he really wanted to test me. I told him:  Test the 20 leading ladies and if you decide that none of them are right, you come back  to me – with a guarantee that none of these ladies are going to do it.  Then, I’ll test.”  He should have taken her advice. His nine possible Daisy Buchanans – Candice Bergen, Genevieve Bujold, Lois Chiles, Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Katharine Ross, Natalie Wood  – after Paramount’s owner Charles Bludhorn ruled that Ali MacGraw, wed to the studio’s production chief, Robert Evans, “is not doing this picture. Is. That. Clear?”  Bergen and Farrow went to the wire.  Producer David Merrick wanted “aristocratic looks, hard to find in an actress.”  Farrow won the tests – with the looks of a ‘flu victim with a 103 temperature. And Chiles became the “fast” Jordan Baker. Time magazine critic  Jay Cocks decreed: “The film is faithful to the letter of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel but entirely misses its point.” 

  17. Katharine Ross, The Stepford Wives, 1975.    British scenarist-director Bryan Forbes had seven potentialJoannas – the unsuspecting wife moving into the townof robotic wives. He chose Weld, costumed her and got ready to shoot when the insurance company pulled the plug. Due to her severe migraines, necessitating rest in a darkened room for two days at a time.
  18. Sally Field, Norma Rae, 1979.      Director Martin Ritt’s first choice. “It would have made her totally mainstream,” said her agentSue Mengers.”Tuesdaywould work when she’d wake up and say: ‘OK, I want to go to work..’ If something came around that she liked, fine.She wouldn’t calculate: ‘Oh, it’s not a good career move.’ Her private life was always very important to her.” And theCannes Best Actress… and the Oscar goes to…
  19. Liza Minnelli, Arthur, 1980.         Tuesday simply refused… she was divorcing the titular Dudley Moore  at the time. Arthur went from John Belushi and Bud Cort to Michael Palin and John Travolta as thoughts for his ideal woman Linda Marolla included Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Meryl Streep.

  20. Jessica Lange, Frances, 1982.  
    Howard Hawks  said  she always seemed to be shining. “More talent than anyone I ever worked with.” She and Vivien Leigh were beaten by Ingrid Bergman to For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1943. She’s the subject of various books, plays (viz Sally Clarke’s Saint Frances of Hollywood),  pop and rock songs  – French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer even took her name. All actresses loved her talent and guts (when wrongfully committed to asylums by her parents) and wanted to play…  Frances Farmer.  From the sublime to the ridiculous: Meryl Streep, to Susan Dey  of TV’s Partridge Family. Kim Basinger tested with Sam Shepard (Lange’s future husband). Undaunted Susan Blakely made her own 1983  TVersion (from Farmer’s book, Will There Really Be A Morning?). Next ? Anne Archer, Blythe Danner, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Glenda Jackson, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Katharine Ross, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Natalie Wood.  Plus Constance Money – turned down by producer Mel Brooks and debuting director Graeme Clifford  due to her porno career.  But what a wondrous thought Tuesday was!   “You’re crazy! Do you think I want success? I may be self-destructive, but I like taking chances with movies. I like challenges, and I also like the particular position I’ve been in all these years, with people wanting to save me from the awful films I’ve been in. I’m happy being a legend. I think the Tuesday Weld cult is a very nice thing.”

  21. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  22. Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1988.        Paramount suits saw 40 young actresses for the (real life) gang rape victim. Or, their own rape bait fantasies… such as 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! And a further 27 for her lawyer. Including Fatal Attraction also-rans from Weld, Geena Davis, Sally Field, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey – to Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and Debra Winger, who were offered both roles. Plus Beverly D’Angelo, Blythe Danner, Carrie Fisher, Teri Garr, Mary Gross, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Diane Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused the lead. She had no wish to revisit the horror and pain of her own assault six years earlier. Obviously. However, she agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney – on condition that the studio-described “unsexy” Jodie, and no one else, played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… dated March 29, 1989.
  23. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.





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