Dudley Moore


  1. Barry Evans, Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, 1967.     He was too old for it. So Dud (bravely!) turned down having fun with all of Swinging London’s teenage flowers: Judy Geeson, Anghel Scoular, Sheila White, Adrienne Posta, Vanessa Howard, Diane Keen… some of whom had been testing for Candy. Never mind, he had his movie fun with the 10 of the hour, Bo Derek in 1979.
  2. Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, 1970.      Author Roald Dahl’s original choice to play his eccentric chocolatier was BBC radio Goon Spike Milligan. Next? Spike’s co-Goon Peter Sellers was too expensive. LA’s choice, Joel Grey, was “not physically imposing enough.” Ron Moody  would have frightened the horses – and the kids. It was impossible to choose between Mooe and his BBcomedy partner, Peter Cook. UK comic Frankie Howerd was into two film farces. Jon Pertwee was wed to Doctor Who. Carry On stars Sidney James and Kenneth Williams were as keen as (a way too old) Fred Astaire. One by one, all six Monty Pythons (John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin) were judged not international enough (and Howerd, Milligan and Pertwee were?!) Cleese, Idle and Palin were offered the 2005 re-hash, by which time Chapman had died and Gilliam and Jones had turned director.
  3. Michael Crawford,Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em, TV, 1973-1978.  The young, child-like  husband with no prospects whad been created for the British prat-falling comic, Norman Wisdom, who passed to Ronnie Barker, who passed to Dud. What wasthe BBC thinking?  They were all too old and incapable of Crawford’s  stunts (sometimes live) as the accident-prone Frank – the rôle that sent him on to Broadway’s Phantom  of the Opera.
  4. Tom Hanks, Splash, 1983.    Producer Brian Grazer always said he got the idea when driving along  the Pacific Coast Highway and musing on mermaids. Or on AIP’s 1964 Beach Blanket Bingo which had Jody McCrea falling (off his surfboard) for mermaid Jody Kristen…  Hanks always claimed he was director Ron Howard’s 11th choice for Allen Bauer in his breakthrough (mermaid) movie.  Sorry, Tom – 15th!  And here they be: Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, John Heard, Michael Keaton (he also refused Alan’s brother, Freddie), stand-up Robert Klein, Kevin Kline, Dudley Moore, David Morse, Bill Murray (PJ Soles was to be his mermaid), Christopher Reeve, Burt Reynolds, John Travolta (his agent turned him off it!), and Robin Williams. “Ronnie made me a movie  star,” said Hanks.” That’s what he did.” He also booked Guttenberg for his next gig, Cocoon. (Channjng Tatum was due for a 2016 re-make – but as the merman opposite Jillian Bell as his human lady). 
  5. Annette O’Toole, Superman III, 1983.
  6. Neil Dickson, Biggles, 1985.     Hardly the tall, blond flying ace of Captain WE Johns’ 96 schoolboys’ hero books. “0.0%  of the world knows what Biggles looks like,” argued producer Kent Walwin. “And 99% will come to be convinced he  looks like Dudley.” Then how come Jeremy Irons was considered next as the 1980 script veered  from  satire  to  nostalgia  –  and,  ultimately, into quite  absurd science friction.
  7. Christopher Lloyd, Back To The Future, 1985.     On director Robert Zemeckis’ short list for Doc Brown, alongside Jeff Goldlbum, John Lithgow, James Woods. (Ex-President Ronald Reagan was shortlisted for a bit in one of the sequels).
  8. Andrew McCarthy, Mannequin, 1987.      He passed on creating Kim Cattrall!  Or, a shop window dummy becoming a distaff Pinocchio that suddenly lives and breathes.  The film did not. As Chicago critic Roger Ebert famously put it: “Mannequin is dead. The wake lasts 1 1/2 hours, and then we can leave the theatre.”
  9. Tom Hanks, Turner & Hooch, 1989.  Dud, Chevy Chase, John Larroquette, Bill Murray and Jack Nicholson (!) all fled from police detective Scott Turner and his French mastiff dog in this Odd Coupleriff.  With the dog, Beasley, as Walter Matthau and, of course, Hanks is, was and always will be a second Jack Lemmon (in all his career choices). Henry Winkler, Happy Days’Fonzie, was sacked after two weeks as director by Disney suit Jeffrey Katzenberg – who then doubled his errors by using the wrong ending, where the dog dies. (A TVersion with Thomas F Wilson never survived the putrid pilot. 
  10. Bob Hoskins, Mermaids, 1989.    If you can’t get Dud to play Lou Landsky  you obviously chase after Hoskins for, as crityic Roger Ebert derscribed Loui,  “a husky, salt-of-the-earth type who sizes up the situation and decides that what Mrs Flax  and her daughters need is a transfusion of normality. Mrs Flax was Cher…

  11. Joe Pesci, Home Alone, 1990.    It was so patently obvious that the kid of the hour – Macauley Culkin – was going to steal everything but the cinema seats that most of The Names avoided the burglar clown called Harry Lime, more of a fourth Stooge than Orson Welles. Those refusing to be second banana to a moppet included Rowan Atkinson, Robert De Niro, Danny De Vito, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Jon Lovitz and two musical Brits: Phil Collins and Dud. ”Hardest thing fior Pesci,”  said cinematographer Julio Macat, “was not swearing! “ 
  12. Rowan Atkinson, The Lion King, 1993.      Also in the mix to voice Zazu in the 32nd Disney toon – Bambi meets Hamlet in Africa! – were Chris Barrie, Simon Callow, David Jason, Spike Milligan, Vic Reeves, Patrick Stewart. Plus various UK comedy giants: Peter Cook and Dudley Moore; The Two Ronnies: Barker and Ronnie Corbett; The Goodies: Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Bill Odie; and the Monty Pythons: John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin.
  13. George Segal, The Mirror Has Two Faces, 1996.      Dud had trouble remembering his lines and was dropped by common consent soon after La Barb (Barbra Streisand) started directing. Ironically, he was replaced  by the guy he had famously replaced in 10.



 Birth year: 1935Death year: 2002Other name: Casting Calls:  13