Charles Bickford

  1. Johnny Weissmuller, Tarzan, The Ape Man, 1931.
  2. Pat O’Brien, Laughter in Hell, 1932.  Bickford and Victor McLaglen were in the  chain-gang  mix  – which started a battle between women columnists. In The Milwaukee Sentinal, Eileen Perry reported Bickford had won the role. But Milwaukee wasn’t Hollywood, where Louella Parsons, no less, said it was McLaglen.  Louella was not always right.  She just said she was. 
  3. Robert Montgomery, Night Must Fall, 1936.    Montgomery put up a fight for the role, but MGM didn’t want  its romcom idol playing a psychopath – and tried to loan Paramount’s Bickford. No deal. OK, then Bob, it’s yours… “but we’re gonna hafta warn the public of  the spurious content.”  
  4. Brian Donlevy, Union Pacific, 1938. As the polite version goes, Bickford “stepped out of the part because he didn’t like it.”   CB DeMille must have been more heated, despite directing from a stretcher while recovering from surgery.
  5. Ray Collins, The Eve of St Mark, 1943.   Bickford and Brian Donlevy were also up for Deckman West in this good slice of propaganda – or “morale booster,” as critics dubbed it – based on Maxwell Anderson’s Broadway hit, following a small town’s hero called… Quizz.
  6. Lionel Barrymore, It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946.
  7. Gene Lockhart, Joan of Arc, 1947.    Change of Georges de la Trémouile in July 1947…. After London producer Alexander Korda cancelled plans for a dual-language version with Michele Morgan a in face of the Hollywood competition from Ingrid Bergman of Lorraine.
  8. John Wayne, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, 1948.   Bickford was first choice (and around the right age at 57) for Captain Nathan Cutting Brittles… until John Ford was impressed by his older than 41 role of Thomas Dunson in Red River.
  9. Otto Kruger, Magnificent Obsession, 1953.  Bickford, John Forysthe or Otto Kriuger – musical chairs for the role of painter Edward Randolph in Universal’s tearjerker.   Robert Taylor’s star-making breakthrough, circa 1935,  was now  Rock Hudson’s likewise triumph  in in Douglas Sirk’s soppy, not to say soapy re-gurgitation (despite often needing up to 40 takes for a  scene).
  10. Chill Wills, Giant, 1955.







 Birth year: 1891Death year: 1967Other name: Casting Calls:  10