Payday Loans
Frank Sinatra (1915-1998)


  1. Red Skelton, Merton of the Movies, 1946.       Can you imagine Ole Blue Eyes as a film-mad klutz from Kansas who gets to take over a Hollywood drama from his favourite actor without realising he’s being used to make it a comedy send-up? Nor could Sinatra! Not Skelton’s best/worst. (Was there ever a best?) The funniest comedy routines were dreamt up by Buster Keaton.
  2. Peter Lawford, Easter Parade, 1947.     The first ideas  for the Irving Berlin musical were Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Red Skelton.   The new Jonathan Harrow III was Lawford, part of the Sinatra Clan when he was JFK’s brother-in-law.
  3. Dick Haymes, One Touch Of Venus, 1947.      Worried that Clifton Webb was the only solid name in her plans to film the Broadway hit musical in 1943 (with Mary Martin and Frank Sinatra), Mary Pickford pulled the plug and sold her rights to Universal where, ironically, it became an Ava Gardner vehicle five years later... Ava , of course, ignited with Sinatra in 1949 and they wed during 1951-1957.
  4. Van Johnson, In The Good Old Summertime, 1949.   MGM had more stars… than they knew what to do with. Example: Andy was Gene Kelly, who became Peter Lawford, who became Frank Sinatra who became Johnson! Ole Blue Eyes simply quit. Then, his expected co-star Allyson proved pregnant. The two facts were not connected.
  5. Howard Keel, Lovely To Look At, 1952.      Unfortunately, the A Team - Garland, Garrett, Kelly, Sinatra - never re-made Jerome Kern’s Roberta musical. And it sure showed…
  6. Dirk Bogarde, Penny Princess, 1952.      Frank’s career being in the toilet didn’t mean he had toaccept UK trash. Associate producerchief Earl St John told writer-director Val Guest to get Bogarde a good suit. “Give him square shoulders.”Shows how little St John had read of the script - the hero is mostly in pyjamas.
  7. James Mason, A Star Is Born, 1953.

  8. Marlon Brando, On The Waterfront, 1953.
    A feud is born    After the hot-shot, know-it-all moguls and majors - Harry Cohn, Jack Warner, Darryl Zanuck, MGM. Universal - passed, SP Eagle (as Sam  Spiegel was still called)  took it on, insisting on Marlon Brando. Not so, director Elia Kazan... Furious at Brando saying he’d never work with Kazan again “for turning canary,” exposing his Communist friends, Kazan just didn’t “want that son of a bitch in my film - he’s not right for the part anyway.” He felt pencil-thin Sinatra would be a more believable  boxer (!). “He’d grown up in Hoboken, spoke perfect Hobokenese and he’d be simple to work with.” Scenarist Budd Schulberg changed the famous taxi speech line from “You coulda been another Billy Conn” to the much lighter “Jimmy McLarnin.”  Then, Kazan, The Boy Genius of Broadway, feared The Voice would split too early for his next gig. Budd Schulberg’s script was sent to Montgomery Clift although Kazan, preferred Paul Newman. Spiegel never gave up on Brando. To make him  jealous enough to change his mind, Kazan had Karl Malden direct a test of Newman - and his future wife Joanne Woodward as The Girl, Edie Doyle. Brando  finally signed when Sinatra was being fitted for Terry Molloy’s clothes.“Frank was mad as hell,” recalled Schulberg.  “God, he wanted that part. He screamed at me. He practically came to blows with Spiegel. He had his heart set on it. The unfortunate truth is that Sinatra couldn't have done it. He just couldn't act in that way... Brando’s way. Who could?”

  9. Karl Malden, On The Waterfront, 1953.    Furious  with Sam Spiegel for welshing on their deal, Sinatra wanted $100,000 compensation for the “humiliation”  (he settled for $18,000) and  the role of the docklands priest, Father Barry.  Too late, Malden was aleady signed - “and I wasn’t?” yelled Frank).  In a foul mood one  night at Romanoff’s,  he kept calling Sam “Fat Man”  until  Spiegel shut him up.  “Frank, if you would like to meet me outside, without your henchmen, it would be my pleasure.” 
  10. James Dean, Giant, 1955.
  11. Dan Dailey, It’s Always FairWeather, 1955.      Designed as an On The Townsequel for Kelly, Sinatra, Jules Munshin. Gene Kelly stayed put (and co-directed with Stanley Donen), Frank was unavailable and Dailey and Michael Kidd joined Kelly in, this time, the USArmy. Dancing sailors look better.

  12. Marlon Brando, Guys and Dolls, 1955.
    Producer Samuel Goldwyn was like Robert Redford at the end of The Candidate. He’d won... but what now? MGM refused    to loan Gene Kelly, so   Sam offeredSky Masterson to every guy he knew: Bing Crosby, Kirk Doughas, Clark Gable,    Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, Burt Lancaster, even Robert Mitchum! Then, Cary (who had suffered Sinatra tantrums   during The Pride And The Passion, 1957)  called his one-time lover Marlon:   “I hear that you don’t like Sinatra   Take the role... just to piss him off.    It’s a deal!”Although "heavy-footed with high comedy," Brando insisted on $200,000 for 14 weeks. And Sinatra became Nathan Detroit, running “the oldest established permanent floating crap game in NewYork” - which really required a Jewish comic. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” Brando told Sinatra. “I was wondering, maybe I could come to your dressingroom and we could just run the dialogue together.” Sinatra still smarting from losing Waterfront to “Mumbles,” told him: “Don’t give me any of that Actors Studio bullshit.” Asked about the film, Montgomery Clift told Brando: “You knowwhat I saw? This big, big, fat ass.”

  13. Jack Lemmon, Mister Roberts, 1955.       Too old (already!) for Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver.
  14. Broderick Crawford, Il bidone, Italy-France, 1955.       Humphrey Bogart was ill, Sintarawas a louse...Normally, Federico Fellini cast faces first (from photos of stars, actors, extra and amateurs) and their (dubbed) voices afterwards. He foundhis Augustofrom All The King’s Men - not the film, but a vertically torn poster in Rome’s Piazza Mazzini. The hangdog look was perfect but who the hell was “Broderi”...?Fellini found out - and also about Broderi’s alcoholism which made shooting a living hell. The maestro wished he’d gone with either of two Paris suggestions, Pierre Fresnay or Jean Servais.
  15. Sterling Hayden, The Killing, 1955.      Kubrick #2… Sinatra was already dealing with author Lionel White for his Clean Break  novel, when the author decided to give it to Kubrick because censors refused him from making the White’s The Snatch, because it was about kidnapping a child.  The Killing flopped but made Kubrick. (Kirk Douglas immediately hired him to make Paths of Glory, 1956, and Spartacus, 1959). By 1962, Sinatra was planning a re-make with his Clan: Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop. Instead, they re-made Gunga Din as a Western called Sergeants 3.  Hayden  co-starred with Sinatra in Suddenly, 1954, about assassinating a US President... supposedly watched by Lee Harvey Oswald days before he allegedly killed JFK. After which horror, Sinatra immediately withdrew his film from circulation.
  16. Gordon MacRae, Carousel, 1956.  “Frank was very enthusiastic about playing Billy Bigelow, which he called the greatest musical role for a man,’’ his intenxced co-star Shirley -Jones told TCM host Robert Osborne.  “He’d prerecorded all of the songs. But ut when he arrived on location in a limousine and saw two cameras, he said, ‘I’m not being paid to make two movies,’ and got back in the limousine and left.’’ Jones said she learned the truth years later. “His wife at the time, Ava Gardner, was shooting a film in Africa. She called Frank and said:  If you’re not on the next plane, I’m having an affair with [co-star] Clark Gable.”
  17. Burt Lancaster, Sweet Smell of Success, 1956.     “I love this dirty town…” When Burt Lancaster’s company - Hecht-Hill-Lancaster - bought Ernest Lehman’s story in 1955, it was with The Voice in mind for The Louse, powerful newspaper columnist JJ Hunsecker…based on Walter Winc hell. Next, Orson Welles, and then… Lancaster’s superb portrayal of Winchell’s psychological cruelty did for Winchell what Winchell had done for so many celebrities and “Commies.” It destroyed him.
  18. John Rait, The Pajama Game, 1956.    The way other folk buy tickets, head brother Jack Warner bought Broadway’s hottest new musicals, The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. And offered to fly in the New York casts - but one top role had to be a genuwhine movie star.  Like Sinatra for Game, opposite Paige - Broadway’s Babe. Frankie passed, letting in the stage star, John Raitt (he’d had a bit in Ship Ahoy, 1942. with Sinatra).  And dropping Paige to make room for Doris.  Raitt soon  disappeared. He looked good, sang good but acted as wooden as a plank.  No wonder producer George Abbott had wanted Marlon…  Hey, didn’t they all. 
  19. Tony Curtis, The Defiant Ones, 1957.       About the two escaped chained convicts,  Billy Wilder said:  Brando wanted to play the black convict, Mitchum would refuse to be in any film “with a nigger” and Kirk Douglas wanted both roles… Disappointed with The Wild One, Brando never worked for Stanley Kramer again. Sinatra (who often chased ex-Brando roles), Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn all refused to co-star with Sidney Poitier.  So much for liberal Hollywood…
  20. Dean Martin, Rio Bravo, 1958.

  21. Jack Lemmon, Some Like It Hot, 1958.       Billy Wilder pitched his perfect comedy - Sinatra and Tony Curtis as two jazzmen on the lam from The Mob  in a girls’ band.  The Voice loved it.  To talk some more, Billy made a lunch date. Sinatra never showed. More hurt than annoyed, Wilder later admitted he was better off without him. “He would have run off after the first take - ‘gotta see a chick’.”  Besides  Sinatra and Curtis has just finished  Kings Go Forth - so the first shots of them in drag were bound to be headlined: Queens Go Forth. Soon as Wilder won Marilyn, he could have Lemmon or Chetah for Jerry, the jazzman becoming Daphne in an all girls’ band to escape The Mob.  This was the first of seven Wilder-Lemmon gems during 1958-1981.  Sinatra was later keen on a re-make -  co-starrting Madonna. 
  22. Bing Crosby, Say One For Me, 1958.     Crosby suggested Francis Albert for Father Conroy - opposite Debbie Reynolds as his daughter. The Voice passed and Der Bingle finally agreed to don the cassock. Again. For the third and last time as a New York City priest - after Going My Way, 1943, and The Bills of St. Mary’s, 1945. Sinatra and Reynolds had been snared by The Tender Trap in 1955.
  23. Robert Wagner, Say One For Me, 1958.   Once Crosby put the clerical back on, he suggested Sinatra stay aboard - as the questionbable club owner involved with sweet Debbie Rebnolds. Cue the songs…
  24. Paul Newman,  Rally ’Round The Flag, Boys! 1958.       When the hero was still  Italian-American, producer Buddy Adler tried to interest Sinatra into the one Leo McCarey comic fest that simply… festered. Newman made the gigantic mistake of trying to (over)act funny instead of playing it straight as per Jack Lemmon. Embarrassing!
  25. Laurence Harvey, The Alamo, 1959.       Sinatra was far more keen on this Western - John Wayne’s crusade. His dream project, since the 40s. He would direct and play, maybe, just a short rôle. Sam Houston, maybe. (It was Davy Crockett). But not for a dozen years… on September 9, 1959.   Duke was surprised when Sinatra was interested in playing the chilly, driven William Barret Travis.   “Frank came over, he talked to me about the Travis part, he knew Travis as well as I do.” But his old blue eyes were booked for the following 12 months… They remained close until Duke’s death “I don’t know why,” admitted Mrs Barbra Sinatra,  “because they were completely different in almost everything.
  26. Steve Forrest, Flaming Star, 1960.     The pitch?  Enemies Brando and Sinatra as Dolores Del Rio’s half-breed sons. Although hushed up by Colonel Parker, Elvis was proud of his Cherokee roots(even shared them with his GI Blues character) - from his maternal great-great-great grandmother,  Morning Dove White.
  27. Glenn Ford, Pocketful of Miracles, 1960.      After making A Hole in the Head together, Sinatra offered Frank Capra the first Clan movie - Jimmy Durante’s story played out by Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crobsy. “Even-steven four-way split - you, me, Dean and Bing - on everything. We’ll murder the people.” Except each superstar had a corporation now and they murdered the deal. Same fete met Capra offering this one to Ole Blue Eyes and/or Dean Martin. They passed “faster than Pancho Gonzales’ first serve” and Capra settled for Ford - biggest mistake of his 67 years. Indeed, a terminal error - the reason why he never made another movie.
  28. George Grizzard, Advise & Consent, 1961.      Having triumphed together with The Man With The Golden Arm, six years and seven movies ago, Sinatra thought it would be easy to persuade producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger to let him play the repugnant   Senator Fred Van Akerman. It was not. Otto (“Vot you mean ogre?”) wanted an unknown in the part. But he did have “the voice of Frank Sinatra” singing a song on a juke box in Hollywood’s first gay bar scene. I treasure the film - it introduced me to the circus that is US (indeed, global) politics.  
  29. Stephen Boyd, Billy Rose’s Jumbo, 1962.  If at first you don’t succeed…  MGM’s  first cast in 1943:  Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland.  In 1947 : Frank Sinatra-Judy Garland  - or Gene Kelly-Kathryn Grayson.  1949:  Frank Sinatra-Esther Williams. 1952:  Donald O’Connor-Debbie Reynolds. 1962: Dean Martin-Doris Day. Finally: Stephen Boyd was Day’s (weak) partner in her last musical.  And after all that, it flopped.  
  30. Gregory Peck, How The West Was Won, 1962.   Peck replaced him at extremely short notice in the giant Cinerama epic.

  31. Robert Preston, The Music Man, 1962.  At first, Broadway’s Man was considered too old to romanceShirley Jones. Then again, 76 Trombones is hardly a Sinatra ballad. Writer Meredith Wilson made it clear: "No Preston, no movie.”
  32. Michel Piccoli, Le Mepris/Contempt, France-Italy 1963.      The French New Wave god, Jean-Luc Godard, wanted Sinatra as “the character from Marienbad who wants to be a character in Rio Bravo.” The saloon singer loathed locations - too many people watching and nature interfering with his one-take coda. Second time, a Sinatra-Bardot pairing was run up a Parisian flagpole. Producer Raoul Levy had tried to interest them in Paris By Night in the late 50s. Piccoli had first worked with the the fledgling BB eight yeares earlier in René Clair’s Les Grandes Manoeuvres, 1955.
  33. Robert Mitchum, What A Way To Go!, 1963.      A certain Louisa May Foster takes her shrink through her five late husbands - every one a laugh. (If only). Prepared for Marilyn Monroe before her tragic death, I Love Louisa was given to Elizabeth Taylor and, finally, Shirley MacLaine. In the Liz line-up, Frank Sinatra and Burt Lancaster were up for the business trycoon Hubby #4. Fred MacMurray was given the Hubby #6 cut from the script. Ah, if only the script had been cut.  Dean Martin played the one that got away, a certain Lennie Crawley. Shirley should have known better. You can never go wrong with a Crawley.
  34. George Peppard, The Third Day, 1964.  Ole Bue Eyes had second thoughts on being accused of murdering his wife - when he suffered memory loss from a car smash. This was Amnesia Year… Gregory Peck and Robert Webber also played such victims in Mirage and Hysteria.
  35. Dean Martin, Kiss Me Stupid, 1964.     Billy Wilder called again... to co-star with Marilyn Monroe.  Presumably, Sinatra’s horny singer would have been called Frankie, not Dino.
  36. Tony Curtis, Goodbye Charlie, 1964.      Sinatra-Marilyn became Curtis-Debbie Reynolds. Hardly the same pizzazz.
  37. Paul Newman, Harper, 1965.  From Ross MacDonald’s The Moving Target, the first of his tales of  private dick Lew Archer - switched to Harper because, believe it or not, Newman favoured H-titles: due to the succesas of The Hustler, Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man, Hud, Hombre… Both Newman and Sinatra went on to refuse Dirty Harry (for different reasons) but Old Blue Eyes went the shamus route in The Detective and two  Tony Rome movies
  38. Jason Robards, Any Wednesday, 1966.     Warners made the classic mistake, according to Sinatra pal, actor and future producer Brad Dexter: buying a five cent Broadway play for $750,000.“They needed a big name and Frank went almost to the point of doing it.But no matter what you did to the play, it would end up being a bad picture - and Frank would wind up taking the rap for it.”
  39. Terence Cooper, Casino Royale1967.
  40. Walter Matthau, The Secret Life Of An American Wife, 1968.     Frank loved George Axelrod’s script. “Actually,” said Axelrod, “he would’ve been wrong because like so much of my stuff, it inches on the border line of vulgarity and bad taste. Perfect with a slob like Walter playing the greatest sex symbol...!”

  41. Omar Sharif, Funny Girl, 1968.  The Jewish Barbra Streisand preferred an Arab screen lover (on and off-screen) to Sinatra. She disliked Frank and not just because she trailed way behind his number of best-selling albums and singles… and movies. Anyway, he much preferred Columbia’s first choice. Shirley MacLaine. Also short-listed for gambling man Nick Arnstein: Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Cary Grant, David Janssen, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck..  Plus three TV stars, Robert Culp, James Garner, David Janssen,  that she chewed up and spat out. She was an expert in cutting her co-stars’ roles to ribbons.  Asked whether she’d been difficult to work with, director William Wyler said:  "No, not too hard, considering it was the first movie she ever directed"!
  42. Yves Montand, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, 1970.       Ole Blue Eyes had little intserst in a co-star who had told William Wyler how to direct Funny Girl. Richard Harris also quit because of her. Barbra Streisand.
  43. Warren Beatty, The Only Game In Town, 1970.     George Stevens’ A Place In The Sun is the film that made the teenage Henry Warren Beaty try acting. So when Stevens called him at the 1968 Democratic Convention to succeed Sinatra in a 9,000-ton soufflé (with the same Liz Taylor!), Beattyreadily agreed. He even refused The Sundance Kid to do so. “I always thoughtit was probably one of the most sensible decisions I had made because I got the chance to work with George.” Then, showing hisspin-doctor side, he added: “Ultimately, itwas more rewarding to me to have made a sort of an unsuccessful picture with him.”Of course it was. 
  44. Topol, Fiddler on the Roof, 1971.     Hollywood can be so stupid. IfI was a rich man, ring-a-ding-ding..!
  45. Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry, 1971.
  46. Marlon Brando, The Godfather, 1971.
  47. Burt Reynolds, Shamus, 1973.      Barry Beckerman’s  script was on Old Blue Eyes’  drawing board sin de 1967. But, hey, he’d been playing too many dicks and cops lately. Well, they tended to wewa his kind of hats…   Tony Rome (twice) (once was enough!), The Detective and he’d agreed to investigate Contract on Cherry Street  on TV and make The First Deadly Sin. (He’d also refused Dirty Harry for  much the same reason). Burt took over what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called an uneasy mixture of 70s violence, 50s sex and 30s private-eyes. The bigger crime was the way it  pinched a few Humphrey Bogart/Philip Marlowe scenes from The Big Sleep, 1944.

  48. Charles Bronson, Death Wish, 1973.     Just couldn’t handle guns anymore... Like Steve McQueen, Ole Blue Eyes rejected both Dirty Harry Callahan, 1971, and the New York architect turned vigilante Paul Kersey... in what Paramount aimed to re-title, The Sidewalk Vigilante as thepublic hates Death in titles. You know, like in Death Wish 2, 3, 4, 5. Oh, and the 2009 re-make!
  49. Richard Kiley, The Little Prince, 1974.     Paramount chief Robert Evans made what he saw as a perfect deal in 1972: $200,000 plus a cut. “Frank could work for free on what he’d make from the music alone. He was ready to come out of retirement - but Stanley Donen wouldn’t work with him.”
  50. Art Carney, Harry and Tonto, 1974.     Paul Mazursky wrote it for Jimmy Cagney to be the widower of 72, on an odyssey across the US after being evicted with his cat, Tonto. Also refusing:Frank, Cary Grant, Danny Kaye, Laurence Olivier.Carney got the job - and I saw him pick up his Oscar in LA on April 8, 1975.
  51. Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
  52. John Huston, Winter Kills, 1978.   Even after his famous falling out with the JFK clan, Sinatra was not interested in playing, basically, old man man  Joe Kennedy, in this (to cite Churchill) mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma.... Besides, Sinatra had made his own presidential assassination  movie, Suddenly,  and lost his shirt on in when removing it from  distribution after Dallas 1963.   The book’s author Richard Condon thought it was more about The Voice not wanting to be seen  as an old fogey - powerful or not.
  53. Paul Newman, The Verdict, 1982.     Ole Blue Eyes saw another Oscar in the offing. And indeed, Newman was nominated - and lost for the sixth time. It was seventh time lucky for The Colour of Money in 1986. He was nominatedtwice more before his 2007 retirement.  Watching it in 2019  for the 100th time, George Clooney said:   "That is a proper big-time, world-class movie star saying to the world: ‘I’m a character actor now.’ He busted his ass. And you couldn’t make that as a film now. Not like that. The films that you used to get - Three Days of the Condor and those kind of films - you couldn’t make now. Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would be hard to make, because the guys die in it."
  54. Jerry Lewis, The King Of Comedy, 1982.Who’s better than Johnny Carson as a talk-show host?Sinatra’s proud boast- “one take is enoughfor me”-had MartinScorsese exclaiming:“My God, he’d be the best.” After he completed shooting, Lewis was pronounced clinically dead for 17 seconds from a massive heart attack in December 1982... and survived.
  55. Paul Newman, The Verdict, 1982.    First choice for the Boston personal-injury laywer was Sinatra.  Next: Robert Redford, who got two directors fired (Arthur Hiller, James Bridges) to get pal Sydney Pollack aboard. When a fourth, Sidney Lumet, took over, he called the ambulance-chaser a kicking-the-dog character (difficult for the public to like), but Redford, said Lumet, wanted to be petting-the-dog. Enter: Newman “face down in a urinal.” (Not entirely true). “The guy’s an open wound.  And that was refreshing, to let the blemishes, the indecision - the wreckage - show through” The public didn’t want to see Newman kicking dogs. Anyway, he remained far too handsome to be a loser -  except on Oscar-night when Ben Kingsley won “Newman’s Oscar”for Gandhi. PS: Incensed by Newman’s Own pasta sauce, Sinatra hit back with his brand - Artanis; Sinatra backwards.  It disappeared within 18 months, allowing Newman to joke that he had runn Sinatra out of rhe spaghetti sauce business.

  56. Bruce Willis, Die Hard, 1987. 
    There were 17 possible John McClanes… From Michael Madsen, Tom Berenger, and top TV heroes Don Johnson and Richard Dean Anderson to A-listers Charles Bronson, James Caan, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone… and Frank Sinatra?  Yes, well, Roderick Thorpe’s book, Nothing Lasts Forever, sequelised  The Detective  - and  that 1967 film  starred Frank (as Joe Leland,  changed here to  McClane) and so Sinatra had first dibs on any sequels.  At age 73, old Rheumy BlueEyes wisely passed. Otherwise it could have  been “Dooby-dooby-do”  in place of  “Yippee-ki-yay.”  In his 1980 move debut, The First Deadly Sin, Willis is seen leaving a bar as Sinatra walks in.  So it flows… He was soon  taking roles from most of those on the McClane list.
  57. Eli Wallach, The Godfather: Part III,1991
  58. Robin Williams, The Birdcage, 1996.    Before New York stage-screen director Mike Nichols got into re-makingthe most successful of all Frencb comedies (La Cage aux Folles, 1978), the propertyhad been at Cannon - with a surprising OK from Sinatra to play Armand.
  59. Richard Gere, Chicago, 2001.
















Copyright © 2022 Crawley's Casting Calls. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.