Dame Joan Plowright

  1. Moira Shearer, Peeping Tom, 1960    In swift succession, director Michael Powell lost Laurence Harvey to Hollywood and The Second Victim to Broadway. When casting around his favourites (Peter Brook’s wife, Natahsa Parry, included)  –  he felt the French Noëlle Adam (Mrs Sydney Chaplin) was “too big a risk,” Julie Andrews (the future Mrs Blake Edwards) “too famous” and Joan Plowright (the future Mrs Laurence Olivier) “too sympathetic.”  He then selected the star he’d made in The Red Shoes, 1947, despite having called Moira “too glamorous.” 
  2. Carole Shelley, Bewitched, 2004.  Forty actressses were in the tele-witch mix for the unrequired film of the 1968-1972 series.  Just one for her Aunt Clara. But she, Lady Olivier, no less, had to quit and Kristen Chenoweth (playing Maria) suggested Shelley take over, having worked with her on-stage. The London-born Shelley and Camberwell’s Monica Evans, were the giggley Brit sisters, Gwendolyne and Cecily Pigeon, in The Odd Couple for Broadway, Hollywood and TV… leading to voicing various Disney characters, particularly the lovable geese, Amelia and Abigail Gabbl3,  in The AristoCats, 1969. Shelley won a Tony award for The Elephant Man  in 1979.
  3. Sylvia Syms, The Queen, 2006. Worried about losing her Dame-hood? The role she turned down was… the Queen Mum. 


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  3