Betsy Drake

  1. Evelyn Keyes, Mrs Mike, 1949. June Allyson was suggested for the lead. Of course, she was. Her husband, Dick Powell, was the star.  And producer!   Also considered for his Mountie’s Bostonian wife: Barbara Bates, Barbara Bel Geddes, Peggy Cummins, Joanne Dru, Diana Lynn. 
  2. Jane Greer, Desperate Search, 1951.   Howard Keel does not sing.  Betsy Drake does not appear.  And the music is pinched from (the Miklós Rózsa score) for The Asphalt Jungle. (Not the same without Marilyn Monroe).  
  3. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1956.     Somewhat off-beat notion from George Stevens. 
  4. Kim Novak, Bell, Book and Candle, 1958.     Cary Grant planned it for him and his third wife. Only to find his MCA agency had beaten him   to it – and   bought   the Broadway hit for Lew Wasserman’s favourite client. Grant was not pleased with either piece of news… And quit MCA in 1960. “Betsy was a delightful comedienne,” he said, “but I don’t think that Hollywood was ever really her milieu. She wanted to help humanity, to help other help themselves.”

  5. Sophia Loren,   Houseboat,   1957.    
    The story of a beleaguered father needing help with his  three young kids  was penned by B Winkle.  Or indeed, US actress Betsy Drake.  Or indeed, the third Mrs Cary Grant.  They met in London and wed in Arizona, obeying the titular edict of the first of their two films, Every Girl Should Be Married, 1948.   That was then. This is now. They’re still together, but Carty had fallen heavily for Sophia Loren, his co-star in her first English-speaking  movie, The Pride and the Passion, 1956.  For him, it was more, much more than a location affair.  For Sophia, not so much. She adored him (who didn’t?).  They made a more interesting  duo. So  Paramount  dropped Drake. Unknown to the studio, Sophia had dropped Grant!  Her lover, mentor and producer Carlo Ponti, was angry, Drake was humiliated, Grant hysterical – offering Paramount two free films to pay off Loren from the project.  Houseboat was launched on August 8, 1957, in general acrimony as Grant’s passion for Sophia revived,  only to be rejected anew. He hired a private eye to  prove Sophia was having an affair with co-star Harry Guardino  (she  wasn’t) and offered Ponti four films  for free if he’d give up Sophia. “It was  murder  on  the  set,” recalled director Melville  Shavelson. Particularly when the stars were married on   the set,  legend has it) was on  the same day Sophia was wed by proxy in Mexico to Ponti, “a proper husband, not a glamour man.”  Sophia was 25, Betsy was 34, Carlo 45 and Cary 54.  When the film was released, Cary and Betsy had separated. Quelle surprise!


 Birth year: 1923Death year: 2015Other name: Casting Calls:  5