Danny Thomas

  1. Larry Parks, The Jolson Story, 1946.      Lost by a nose… Columbia czar Harry Cohn (like MGM’s LB Mayer) imposed one condition on Thomas. “Get a nose job!” Born Amos Jacobs, Thomas took his name from his brothers and his Lebanese proboscis to TV glory, 1953-1968. James Cagney, Richard Conte (!) and José Ferrer also rejected the surprise smash-hit. Instead of playing Al Jolson, Thomas re-made Jolson’s Jazz Singer (as a musical) in 1952. And poor Parks was black-listed  – ruined! – by such oafs as Senator Joe McCarthy and numbnuts Ward Bond.
  2. Topol, Fiddler on the Roof, 1970.   When word got out that  that producer Walter Mirisch and director Norman Jewison didn’t want   Broadway’s  Zero Mostel – “too big for film!” – Danny Kaye expressed great interest in  becoming Tevye. So did such possibles as Herschel Bernardi (once blacklisted like Mostel and his  successor in the Broadway show),  Walter Matthau, Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, Danny Thomas. Plus such downright impossibles as Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Orson Welles (no roof was strong enough) and… and    Frank Sinatra… If I Were A Rich Man Dooby Dooby Doo!  None got to first base once Chaim Topol ended  his run of the West End  production; he’d  lost the Broadway role when called up for Israeli army duty during  and after the Six Day War. He was replaced by the excessively larger-than-life Mostel who remained  bitter .about losing the film.  So did his son. When offered the Delta House series in 1979, Josh Mostel rasped: ”Tell them to ask Topol’s son if he wants the job!”

  3. Marlon Brando, The Godfather,   1971.

 Birth year: 1914Death year: 1991Other name: Casting Calls:  2