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Ray McDonald (1920-1959)

  1. Mickey Rooney, Ah, Wilderness! 1934.        McDonald, who almost danced out of the womb, was the first asked to portray Tommy in the MGMovie based on Eugene O’Neill’s Broadway play. With June Allyson due as his sister, Mildred. A Broadway star at 16, McDonald almost stole the screen version of his Babes on Broadway from Rooney. They also co-starred in Life Begins For Andy Hardy, 1940, and All Ashore, 1952.
  2. Tommy Dix, Best Foot Forward, 1942.        When MGM bought the rights from Columbia, it also wanted to loan the Broadway show’s dance director -  a certain Gene Kelly!  Columbia czar Harry Cohn refused. He had wanted to co-star Kelly and Rita Hayworth and ordered  them into Cover Girl.  After checking out McDonald and Lee Bowman, MGM took Dix from the stage hit. Gil Stratton, Broadway’s Bud, was also brought to Film City but rushed into Girl Crazy with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.  
  3. Gil Stratton, Girl Crazy, 1943.     As the August 1939 plan of Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell churned into the final MGM teaming of Rooney and Judy Garland., other choices were recast. Such as McDonald by Broadway’s Stratton.




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