Britt Ekland

  1. Mia Farrow, Guns At Batasi, 1964.
    Unknown (as an actress), the Swedish beauty  upped and fled the first film of her seven year Fox contract due to Peter Sellers’ jealousy…  Four days after their wedding (three weeks after they met), he left for Hollywood and Kiss Me Stupid.  His best men, character actor pals Graham Stark and David Lodge, were in Batasi to keep an eye on sexy, young Britt.  Nothing to report. n Her co-star, pop singer John Leyton, was not chasing her. Sellers refused all protestations of innocence, insisting she join him for Easter.   Although not allowed to leave in mid-production, she went and he made sure she did not return.  The usual writs followed. Mia Farrow took over – and rumours immediately started about Leyton and her.  Fox sued for $4.5m and settled for $60,200 for the re-shoots of Britt’s scenes.. In Hollywood, when Sellers had eight heart attacks   (“I was dead for up to two minutes”) after adding amyl nitrate to his love-making… Britt’s career was basically ruined.  Walking out of her first big film, and as Hollywood put it, fucking Sellers out of another…   As if she suggested he pop the poppers. Or his clogs.  She was 21.

  2. Elke Sommer, The Art of Love, 1964.  Brigitte Bardot was supposed to be Dick Van Dyke’s main squeeze, until the black-comedy’s  Paris locations  were  cancelled and everything was shot at the Little Europe  area of Universal Studios. Cheaper, you see… And with Elke Sommer earning $100,000  instead of BB, Ann-Margret, Britt Ekland… or Catherine Spaak, who went to school withy] my French wife. 

  3. Irina Demick, Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, 1965.   The rapidly new Mrs Peter Sellers got many offers (one from Andy Warhol) and  hubby squelched them all.
  4. Jacqueline Sassart, Accident, 1966.  “The Joseph Losey film everyone has been waiting for,”  said The Times.  Losey and UK playwright Harold Pinter planned Nicholas Mosley’s novel  as their  second feature.  Tycoonish producer Sam Spiegel tried to take it over and quadruple the budget.  He wanted Burton and most tikely The Missus as the female lead,  for which  she was way too old. Losey-Pinter went from Sweden’s  Ekand to the French Sassard.
  5. Camilla Sparv, Murderers’ Row, 1966.  Dean Martin, aka the pulp fiction tough guy turned stupid movie spy Matt Helm, met Mrs Peter Sellers during Kiss Me Stupid, before Peter’s heart attacks, and asked her to be Coco Duquette in Helm II. “Do you really want Dean Martin breathing his bourbon fumes all  over you?” asked Sellers. OK, said Dino, get me another Swede . Enter: Sparv, Michael Caine’s lover at the time. The Helm quartet was produced by Irving Allen – ex-partner of 007’s Cubby Broccoli.   Nolo contendere.  And Britt joined The Man With The Golden  Gun, 1974.
  6. Olga Berová, The Vengeance of She, 1967.  When the divine Ursula Andress  fled from the  sequel to her 1964 She, a queue of potentials quickly formed at Hammer Films HQ. They included I Hollywood’s Barbara Bouchet and Susan Denberg (from Hammer’s Frankenstein Created Woman, the previous year) to Mrs Peter Sellers (the Swedish Britt Ekland) and UK model Samantha Jones.  The winner was the stunning Czech Olga Schoberová- billed as Olga Berová,  A lovely interviewee. Better than the film which (unlike the 100% Olga poster!) was churned into a sex-change rehash. For H Rider Haggard’s immortal woman, read (or wince at) scenarist Peter O’Donnell’s immortal man. One expected better from the creator of Modesty Blaise.
  7. Jacqueline Sassard, Accident, 1967.    Her French replacement was sublime.
  8. Goldie Hawn, There’s A Girl In My Soup, 1970.    The missus was talked of for Marion, the latest target of the roving eye (heated circular bed and, literal, shag carpet) of Peter Sellers’ TV cuisine expert.  Then, they divorced…Goldie was pure gold.  Sellers played Hoffman the same year – basically, the same movie. Just not as good.
  9. Joan Collins, Quest For Love, 1971.     Quit two days before shooting because UK director Michael Winner promised  “to give me the female lead if I could assist him in raising the finance” for his Brando film…
  10. Stephanie Beacham, The Nightcomers, 1972.  Seems unlikely that Michael Winner would ask “a destitute thespian” like Britt to find “angels” for him. He claimed plenty of friends who would want to back a Marlon Brando film.  She got nowhere with every millionaire she knew.  Winner, as per usual, geared up his own backing – and another leading lady.  “It was a terrible slap in  the face,” said Britt. “But there was nothing I could do about it.”
  11. Jessica Lange, King Kong,  1976.    “I was rebuffed by [Italian producer] Dino De Laurentiis…  Those who believe that actresses are vain may now know the reason why. When an actress eventually gets a part, it is a very big day.”


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  11