Graham Chapman

  1. 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. 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 (Chapman, John Cleese, 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; Chapman had died and Gilliam an Jones having turned director.
  2. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984.     Filming on Cannon’s second most expensive movie began before their Dr Armstrong was found. Director Tobe Hooper had the choice of the UK’s entire acting populace!  Well, 44 of them… For example, three Doctor Whos (Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Patrick Troughton), plus Monty P’s Chapman – well, he  was a doctor,  after all! And all the time, US director Tobe Hooper knew it didn’t matter a damn who played what guy as all eyes  would be on Mathilda May – fully naked for almost the entire 116 minutes.  (A rare accomplishment, swiftly copied the following year by another Parisienne,  Patricia Barzyk – Miss France 1980 – in Jean-Pierre Mocky’s La machine à découdre).
  3. Ruby Wax, Red Dwarf #17:  Timeslides,  TV, 1989.    Booked for the  host of Lifestyles of the Disgustingly Rich and Famous, Chapman died before filming began. With little time to spare, director Ed Bye took the easy way out – and gave the role to his American stand-up wife.

 Birth year: 1941Death year: 1989Other name: Casting Calls:  3