Ellen Drew

  1. Paulette Goddard, The Cat and the Canary, 1938.      In the mix for Bob Hope’s main squeeze when his recent co-stars – Martha Raye and Shirley Ross – were dropped and before Goddard completed Chaplin’s Great Dictator.
  2. Priscilla Lane, Silver Queen, 1941.       Close to the actual shooting date, Drew was unceremoniously replaced by Lane as the Western rose between two (obdurate, not to say boring) thorns, George Brent (!) and Bruce Cabot (!!). Poor girl didn’t stand a chance.
  3.  Frances Gifford, Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die, 1941.     Change of Ruth Grant, caught betwixt Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday (Richard Dix and Kent Taylor) re-staging that 1881 gunfight at the OK corral. Again. More briefly than usual. The entire movie only lasted 79 minutes.
  4. Betty Jane Rhodes, Priorities On Parade, 1941.      Drew fled, fed up of Z roles in B movies. Paramount gave the film to BJR and a letter of contract-suspension to Drew (ie no monthly pay-cheque). Not for long. She as soon doing well with with the likes of Preston Sturges and Dick Powell, but just never caught fire…
  5. Anne Shirley, Lady Bodyguard, 1942.        For Drew read Shirley as the insurance woman – ordered to keep a test pilot (for Robert Preston, read Eddie Albert) on the ground until  talking him out of a $1m policy she rather stupidy sold him.
  6. Ruth Warrick, China Sky, 1944. Ellen Drew, Claudette Colbert, Margo, Maureen O’Hara and Luise Rainert  were early choices to fight over Pearl Buck’s medical hero, Paul Henreid or Randolph Scott. Finally. Warrick and Scott melo-ed.  But New York Times critic Bosley Crowther was adament:  “This is a case where 10,000 words would have been better than one picture.”
  7. Jane Wyatt, Father Knows Best, TV, 1954-1960.     The wondrous  Missourian was Robert Young’s “common-sense wife” in the NBC pilot. But Wyatt wore the wedding band for the next 196 episodes. Producers know best. (Sometimes).

 Birth year: 1915Death year: 2003Other name: Casting Calls:  7