Carroll Baker


  1. Leslie Caron, Daddy Long Legs, 1955.    The word was good about the Actors Studio’s hot newcomer but she was too honest and  rejected all offers, including a  chance to dance with Fred Astaire because… “I’d been developing my inner concentration and was able to release emotions more readily but I was  still  too shy and frightened  and  inexperienced  to  be  able to give  a relaxed performance.”
  2. Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause, 1955.      Baker, Patricia (later Pat) Crowley, Peggy Ann Garner, Jayne Mansfield, Margaret O’Brien, Lee Remick, Debbie Reynolds, Lois Smith, Susan Strasberg were also in the Judy mix. – only Baker was recommended by James Dean and Elia Kazan.   She tested for Nicholas Ray and then her husband, Jack Garfein, ordered her back to New York… knowing Ray tested Mansfield and Wood in bed.  Baker later co-starred with  Dean in Giant, the delay of which, due to Elizabeth Taylor’s pregnancy, made it possible for Dean to play  rebellious Jim Stark.
  3. Kim Novak, Picnic,1955.    In 1952, Paul Newman was earning $200 a week as Alan (rewritten to suit his age) and being Ralph Meeker’s understudy. (Janice Rule’s was a certain Joanne Woodward). By the time the film came around, Newman craftily tested as Hal by offering to help Carrolll Baker with her Madge test. Columbia preferred her, she got a contract, but  (like Newman) not the film. He did not  have any sexual threat, director Josh Logan told him.  “You’re not a crotch actor.”  He was when booked for Tropic of Cancer with Baker. Alas, it never happened.  Nor did their Cat on a Hot Tin  Roof plan.
  4. Fran Bennett, Giant, 1955.
  5. Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve, 1957.   “After Baby Doll, all Warners wanted was an endless series of cheap imitations.”  The studio refused to loan her to Fox when she refused three Erskine Caldwell tales of “white trash  obliged to exchange sexual favours for the necessities of life.”
  6. Dorothy Malone, Too Much, Too Soon, 1957.    “I was always on suspension.  It came  to a head when I was asked  to play Diana Barrymore.  First line of the script  read: ‘I know that I’m a nymphomaniac.’  And it got worse.”  No more so than her all her 60s Italian sex-dramas: The Sweet Body of Deborah, Orgasmo, etc.
  7. Maria Schell, The  Brothers  Karamazov, 1957.   “I’m still kicking myself after all these years. Warner was going to loan me to MGM for two movies… ”   Poor Dostoyevsky must have been turning in his grave. What a hopeless mess MGM and director Richard Brooks made of his novel. With a wooden Yul Brynner, a hammy Lee J Cobb and a most unerotic Maria Schell as sexy Grushenka –  the role craved by Marilyn, was also offered to Joan Collins.
  8. Elizabeth Taylor, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, 1957.    “… but they wanted to keep all the money. So I said: ‘The hell with you!’ Which was stupid.” Also in the MGMix: Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner.
  9. Haya Harareet, Ben-Hur, 1958.    For Esther in  the MGMighty $5m epic re-make, director William Wyler (one of the original’s 1924 crew) also looked at Pier Angeli, Ava Gardner – and from another epic,  Giant, Baker and Carolyn Craig.
  10. Gina Lollobrigida, La legge (US: The Law and Where the Hot Wind Blows!), Italy-France, 1958.   . Carroll Baker, Brigitte Bardot   – Baby Doll and Bébé!– and Sophia Loren’s double, Scilla Gabel , passed on the a flirtatious virgin maid,Marietta , from Roger Vailland’s Goncourt Prize–winning novel. Frenchmen Pierre Brasseur and Yves Montand were in the lumpen mix but La Lollo only had thighs for Marcello  Mastroianni. Well, he was Italian, too. BB and MM made the much better Vie privée (UK/US: A Very Private Affair) in 1961.

  11. Janette Scott, The Devil’s Disciple, 1959.     Burt Lancaster’s combine increased its offer to $150,000,  but Warners was still into punishing her for not turning nympho.
  12. Vera Miles, The Man Who Shot Liberty  Valance, 1962.    Now Paramount started laying down the lore. “The public expects a certain image of you and a John Ford Western is not it.”
  13. Anjanette Comer, The Loved One, 1964. “The motion picture with something to offend everyone…”  Comer, 25, won the young embalmer, Aimee Thanatogenous (“death by bleeding” in Greek) from such unlikely candidates (and ages) as Baker and Claire Bloom, 33; Diane Cilento, 32; Joy Harmon (Cool Hand Luke’s car-washer!), 24; Julie Harris, 39; Shirley MacLaine, 30; Nina Shipman, 26 –  and Elizabeth Taylor, 32, when Richard Burton was up for the British poet hero. Based, badly, on Evelyn Waugh’s 1948 satire of the American funeral home business, this is the only Hollywood movie that Jayne Mansfield was cut out of!
  14. Susannah York, Sands of the Kalahari, 1965.   Welsh star and producer Stanley Baker flirted with his namesake (and Kirk Douglas) after his pals, the Burtons, proved too pricey.
  15. Katharine Ross, The Graduate, 1967.   
  16. Ellen Burstyn, Tropic of Cancer, 1970.   Tycoon Joe Levine’s idea after his  ’n’ her’s  dismal Harlow. “You don’t have the guts to make Cancer,” Henry Miller told Paramount production chief Bob Evans.  He got Joseph Strick to prove Miller wrong and Paramount  “pulled it  after one theatre.  Ellen Burstyn had her pussy showing, lice in her pussy, open legs. [sic] So when it came to Last Tango, they turned it  down.”
  17. Lesley Ann Warren,  79 Park Avenue, TV, 1977.  Warren garnered  a Golden Globe nod as Harold Robbins’ hooker turned  madame – first talked of for Carroll in ’64.   Some compared Carroll to Marilyn.  No way. Closest she came was playing  a much troubled Hollywood blonde attending a London premiere, and seeking some kind of understanding from  several men in her hotel suite  – agent, bellhop, critic, photographer, etc – in the UK’s ITV   Armchair Theatre production of The Paradise Suite on February  24, 1963.





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  17