William Frawley

  1. Richard Lane, Take It Big, 1943.   Pine-Thoms Productions (film-makers William H Pine and William C Thomas) first wanted Frawley as Eddie Hampton – and settled for Lane.   Frawley became Lucille Ball’s neighbour, Fred Mertz, for 180 chapters of I Love Lucy, 1951-1957, and more… 
  2. Chester Clute, She Went To The Races, 1944.   The MGM News paper (which should know) said Frawley was first choice for Wallace Mason in the romcom.  TV made Frawley a star – and a drunk. He was also Fred Mertz for d 13 chapters of Lucille Ball’s next series,  The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, 1957-1960 – when he became Fred MacMurray’s father-in-law, helping to raise My Three Sons, for 165 episodes during 1960-1965.   Clute was a largely unsung, meek, mild and/or henpecked hero of some 260 screen roles during 1930-1953. 
  3. William Demarest, My Three Sons, TV, 1965-1966.      As Fred MacMurray’s hit show (12m viewers per week) moved from ABC to CBS (and colour), Frawley found  himself side-swiped for being too ill to work, too pricey to insure.  The other William  became  Charley, brother of the sons’ maternal grandfather. Frawley was furious, hurt and never forgave Demarest for replacing him… and died in March 1966 at age 79.W  Hearing this news, his Lucy wife, Vivian Vance, yelled: “Champagne for everyone!”

 Birth year: 1886Death year: 1966Other name: Casting Calls:  3