Anthony Perkins

  1. James Dean, East of Eden, 1955.    He tested and got… Tea and Sympathy, instead, when Elia Kazan had him replace John Kerr on Broadway… where William Wyler saw him and gave him Friendly Persuasion.

  2. Cliff Robertson, The Naked and the Dead, 1957.    
    Burt  Lancaster’s Norma Productions bought the 1948 book by WWII vet Norman Mailer (aged 25). Then, feeling an anti-war film wouldn’t work in 1950, Lancaster let it go. By 1954, producer Paul Gregory planned a $3m version with Charles Laughton directing Mitchum as hard-assed Sergeant Croft  – a great idea ruined by the financial  flop of their now classic Night of the Hunter.  They had also sele ted  Perkins or Montgomery Clift  for Lieutenant Hearn and Lloyd Nolan for Genral Cummings. Director Raoul Walsh botched up the pasteurised ’57version while  Laughton, alas,  never helmed a second film. Neither Hearn or Aldo Ray’s Sergeant Croft were based by Mailer, himself.  He maintained  the character closest to him was Roth played by future Sinatra Clan comic Joey Bishop.

  3. Robert Evans, The Fiend Who Walked The West, 1958.      Intended for Elvis, then McQueen, the script had many more fingerprints on it. For starters, those of Ray Danton, Sal Mineo, Perkins, Eli Wallach.
  4. Tony Curtis, Some Like It Hot, 1958.      For his perfect comedy, Billy Wilder had jettisoned Mitzi Gaynor, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra. He had Curtis but the suits needed A Star. (Sinatra never truend up for his meeting with Wilder). And until Marilyn Monroe filled that bill, Perkins was in the mix as one the two jazzmen on the lam from The Mob… in a girls’ band. Tony ran to Green Mansions with Audrey Hepburn (considered for Marilyn Monrfoe’s chanteuse). “And I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said.
  5. Dick York, Inherit The Wind, 1960.    The trial was important – based on the “Scopes Monkey Trial” of Dayton, Tennessee, circa 1925 – and, above all, the adversaries, Spencer Tracy and Frederic March.  Cates was just a teen-interest sideshow. Perkins and Roddy McDowell were sought before this proved York’s final film before moving to TV for, in particular, 170 episodes as Elizabeth Montgomery’s Bewitched  husband during 1964-1969. 
  6. Richard Beymer, West Side Story, 1961.       A third lost classic. Still, he would always have Psycho.
  7. Troy Donahue, Parrish, 1961.    Stage-screen director Josh Logan tested Warren Beatty, Michael Callan, Tom Laughlin – after dropping Perkins – “too well known.” Hi s fame was fine enough for the film that Logan made instead, Tall Story, where again Beatty was among the other contenders for Parrish McLean. (Beatty’s mother was a MacLean).
  8. Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia, 1961.
  9. George Hamilton, Act One, 1963.   Other newcomers in the frame for the biopic about Broadway icon Moss Hart were Warren Beatty and Dean Jones. Hart was never a Beatty obsession – that was Howard Hughes. And it took him 40 years to make his (weak) Hughes movie, Rules Don’t Apply, 2015.
  10. Paul Newman, Torn Curtain, 1965.   It wasn’t until a 1986 that Perkisn revealed Hitchcock wanted him as his hero, Professor Armstrong.   No effing way, said the suits.  Hitchcock &  Perkins – the public will think it’s Psycho II. Perkins did, in fact, go on to reprise his signature Norman Bates role again, between 1982-1990,  in Psycho II, Psycho III and even TV’s Psycho IV – The Beginning.  He even had the gall to direct  III.   It was obvious that for his “50th” film ((it was #61 of 64).  Hitch  craved people he knew and enjoyed rather than newcomers  foisted on hm by Universal – Paul Newman and Julie Andrews.  Their  supposed box-office clout never saved the film, anyway As he told me in London on April 21, 1966: Casting is the first compromise.  Newman and Hitch never gelled. “I think Hitch and I could have really hit it off – but the script kept getting in the way.”

  11. Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate, 1967.     
    “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?”  Hoffman kept refusing to test because he felt insulted – he was Jewish, not a WASP.  So was director Mike Nichols, who convinced him with his celebrated zinger. “Well, maybe Benjamin ls Jewish inside.”  Robert Redford insisted he wasn’t right and Nichols agreed. “The public would never believe Redford as a loser with girls.”   Idem for George Hamilton and Robert Wagner…  Next? Keir Dullea, Charles Grodin (called up for  Nichols in 1969’s Catch 22, 1969), Albert Finney, Harrison Ford, Steve McQueen (!),  David Lynch regular Jack Nance, Jack Nicholson, Anthony Perkins (better as Chaplain Tappman in Catch 22),  Burt Ward (Batman’s Robin but Fox TV wouldn’t let him go), Gene Wilder and the inevitable unknown, Lee Stanley, who went on to be a  docu director. Oh, and Hoffman’s room-mate, Robert Duvall. (Gene Hackman also shared their digs and he was fired from Mr Robinson!). Producer Lawrence Turman said they saw a million kids… Nichols used as many as he could. Mike Farrell (TV’s M*A*S*H) and Kevin Tighe won screen debuts. Richard Dreyfuss, for example, got an actual line – “Shall I get the cops? I’ll get the cops” –   much better than walk-ons for  Brian Avery (in TV until 2018) and Donald F Glut (TV’s Frankenstein  monster in the 50s).  Hoffman got $17,000 and was then jobless and back on welfare for months. Until catching the Midnight Cowboy bus.

  12. James Caan, The Godfather, 1971.
  13. Alessio Orano, Lisa et il davolo (US: Lisa and the Devil), Italy-West Germany-Spain, 1972.     Italian director Mario Bava had to wait years for the backing to make his pet horror movie. Having already lost Bette Davis as The Countess, hde  couldn’t persuade Perkins to be Max.
  14. Michael Sarrazin, Caravans, 1978.       Tony was being discussed – as far back as 1964 – for author James Michener’s hero.
  15. Geoffrey Lewis, Lust in the Dust, 1985.      Tab Hunter’s meeting at Perkins’ home off Mulholland Drive – to try and talk Tony into playing his Western send-up’s deranged villain, Hardcase Williams – proved the last time the ex-lovers met. Tony was now married with two sons, and Hunter “didn’t really dwell on how he’d gotten to this new place or if he really wasn’t gay anymore… I was sincerely happy for him. He’d achieved the kind of family life I’d never had and never would.”
  16. Terence Stamp, Link, 1985.  Inevitable choice for the anthropologist Dr Steven Philip into chimpanzees as Richard Franklin had lately directed Perkins in Psycho II. And,  perhaps that was why Perkins passed the role  and three chimps (Link, Imp and Voodoo), to the care and attention  of Terry Stamp.  The Australian Franklin didn’t help matters by calling the movie “a sort of Jaws with chimps.”  Not.  Quite.   
  17. Roddy McDowall, Destroyer, 1988.     Took over at short notice, playing the director of WIP (women in prison) schlock. (Yes, they shoot a shower scene.) Perkins and McDowall shared still more schlock in Spain’s Los Gusanos no llevan bufanda/The Naked Target, 1992.
  18. Hank Azaria, The Simpsons #76: Last Exit to Springfield, TV, 1993. Since its 1989 birth, the yellowtoon family Simpson smashed records for episodes, audiences, and the most guest stars (as themselves or others). From Buzz Aldrin, Glenn Close (Homer’s Mom), Dennis Franz (Evil Homer!), George Harrison, Stephen Hawking, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hope, Eric Idle to Paul and Linda McCartney, Conan O’Brien (a Simpsons writer made good), Michelle Pfeiffer, Mickey Rooney, Ringo Starr, Meryl Streep plus Barry (and Betty) White!  Not all celebs played ball… Clint Eastwood and Anthony Hopkins refused to voice a… dentist! Anthony Perkins volunteered for Dr Wolf, but died before the recording date.  Enter: yet another voice from Hank Azaria’s gallery of Professor Frink, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyzlak, Chief Wiggum, etc.
  19. Lance Henriksen, The Pit and the Pendulum, 1990.      After Peter O’Toole quit as Torquemada due to production delays, Tony followed suit.
  20. Olivier Martinez, Le Hussard sur le toit, France, 1995.    After directors René Clement and Luis Buñuel failed in the 50s, others tried to film Jean Giono’s tale with various stars, including the New Wave’s favourite Hollywoodian. Tony’s widow, photographer Berry Berenson  (Marisa’s sister and mother of his two sons) was among the 58 victims aboard American Airlines Flight 11, deliberately crashed by terrorists into the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11, 2001. 







 Birth year: 1932Death year: 1992Other name: Casting Calls:  20