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Dame Julie Andrews

 

  1. Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957.    Seven years away from her double whammy of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, at 22 Julie was a more   musical than drama star. (Indeed, she starred in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s TV Cinderella, instead). She later became close friends  with another (odd)  notion of the tyrannical producer-director Otto Preminger  -  Carol Burnett, future comic and Godmother of Julie’s daughter, Emma Walton.
  2. Moira Shearer, Peeping Tom, 1960.   In swift succession, director Michael Powell lost Laurence Harvey to Hollywood and The Second Victim to Broadway. When casting around his favourites (Peter Brook’s wife, Natahsa Parry, included)  -  he felt the French Noëlle Adam (Mrs Sydney Chaplin) was “too big a risk,” Julie Andrews (the future Mrs Blake Edwards) “too famous” and Joan Plowright (the future Mrs Laurence Olivier) “too sympathetic.”  He then selected the star he’d made in The Red Shoes, 1947, despite having called Moira “too glamorous.”  Disney would never have allowed Julie to be Mary Poppins if she’d been part of Powell’s vilified “scandal.”  It ruined his career.

  3. Audrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady, 1964.  
    Jack Warner’s biggest error - guarding his record $5.5m purchase by choosing non-singing Hepburn (at $1m) over Broadway's star (at $75,000), thereby allowing Walt Disney to offer a triumphant consolation prize ($125,000). Hollywood remembered on Oscarnight, ditching Eliza Dolittle for Mary Poppins as Best Actress.  Her stage co-star Rex Harrison was furious that Julie was never even considered. “Eliza Doolittle is supposed to be ill at ease in European ballrooms. Bloody Audrey has never spent a day in her life out of European ballrooms!  Julie, you should have done it,” Hepburn told her, “but I didn't have the guts to turn it down.” And Warner had told her  if she refused, Eliza would still not go to Julie but… Elizabeth Taylor!   I saw Julie’s Eliza Dolittle in My Fair `Lady at the Theatre Royal in London’s Drury Lane in 1958 - with, of course, Robert Coote, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway. What an evening!

  4. Kim Novak, The Amorous  Adventures  of  Moll  Flanders, 1965.    Losing the Connerys, director Terence Young  chased  after the Julies. Andrews and Christie.  “Julie Andrews would have been a different sort of Moll but there are many facets  to her.”
  5. Samantha Eggar, Walk Don’t Run, 1965. All good things must come to an end…  even the impeccable career of  what he called “the facade of a man known as Cary Grant." He chose to go out on, a new version of The More The Merrier, 1942, directed by George Stevens (who made three fllm s with Cary, including Gunga Din)..   First time around, it was Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea (who said at the time  that Carty would have been  better) and old Charles  Coburn. Columbia now fancied Julie Andrews, Jack Lemmon and Spencer Tracy, but got luckier with Samantha Eggar, Jim Hutton and Cary Grant -  in what Variety critic, Murf,  hailed as  “a completely entertaining, often hilarious romantic comedy spotlighting,  as a matchmaker,  a deliberately mature Cary Grant at the peak of his comedy prowess.” Indeed!  “His presence,” Murf continued, “dominates every scene, including one long-shot - with only part of his face visible and but a few words to speak - in which his magnetism draws the eye away from the predominant foliage.”  In  other  scenes Cary whistled his favourite themes  from Charade and An Affair to Remember - a lovely touch. And that was it. The End – 77 films since 1931.  All over. All done and dusted. ’Bye now!  Didn’t stop one  producer trying to give him $2m and 75% of the profits  if he made it 78 with One Thousand Cups of German Coffee. Cary just laughed, Politely. Never letting on  that he had once owned  rights, himself, and decided against it. 

  6. Vanessa Redgrave, Camelot, 1967.   The übercalifragilisticexpialidocious Julie followed her Broadway triumph in My Fair Lady with Lerner and Loewe’s next musical about King Arthur and Guenevere. She naturally looked forward to filming both. Except (a) head brother Jack Warner stupidly chose the non-singing Audrey Hepburn in MFL and (b) Julie had no wish to put up with Richard Harris again after Hawaii, which is when he started his big push for what had been (the now too pricey) Richard Burton’s throne. The full Warner list for (a British queen, remember) ranged from sublime Brits (Julie Christie, Petula Clark, Marianne Faithfull, Elizabeth Taylor, Jan Waters) to the ridiculous Ann-Margret, Polly Bergen, Cher, Audrey Hepburn and Liza Minnelli. Plus Mitzi Gaynor and Shirley Jones, nine and 12 years after their all-American South Pacific and Oklahoma!  triumphs.

  7. Samantha Eggar, Doctor Dolittle, 1966.    Considering the racially abusive Dr Rex Harrison (called Tyrannosaurus Rex behind his back) was 57,Fox was none too sure who should be his romantic interest - who was not in the books.   He wanted his My Fair Lady stage co-star because he was furious she was never even considered for the film version. (“Eliza Doolittle is supposed to be ill at ease in European ballrooms. Bloody Audrey [Hepburn] has never spent a day in her life out of European ballrooms”). Or his pal, Maggie Smith, was 33. Hayley Mills was 20. Barbra Streisand, 24, would have punched out his anti-Semitism. “Yes, he was unkind and vitriolic and very mean-spirited,” recalled Eggar, 27, “but he was also very funny.  Until, of course, he turned on me, too.”
  8. Shani Wallis, Oliver! 1967. When Lewis Gilbert was “was born to direct it,” the A List names fell like confetti... Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier, Peter O’Toole, Peter Sellers - and Elizabeth Taylor as Nancy. When Hollywood turned stupid (not for the last time). Hey, Fagin’s a Cockney, right? (Jewish, actually). Who was the last great [sic] Cockney - and who was his co-star then? Right, let’s get the Mary Poppins pair - Julie and Dick Van Dyke. This was not The Reason Gilbert never made the film. Just one of them.
  9. Sally Ann Howes, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1967.  . Julie could sing this one: Truly Scrumptious was designed for Julie, whereupon  she declined... Sally Ann had succeeded Julie in the Broadway  run of My Fair Lady. “They couldn’t have picked a better Truly Scrumptious, she  was stunningly beautiful,” said co-star Dick Van Dyke (Julie’s co-star in Mary Poppins!). . “She  loved those kids and they loved her… spent a lot of time with them, you know, between shots telling stories and playing games.” The film flopped. So did Julie’s Star! and Darling Lili.
  10. Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon, 1968.   Julie (and her usual reserve: Sally Ann Howes), Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow,  Lesley Ann Warren andTuesday Weld all passed on the rose between two thorns, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin  Diana Rigg proved unwell. Kim Novak pounced.  But the US star of the French nouvelle vaguewon Elizabeth and, for a while, Eastwood. She even started divorcing hubby for him. Until the unit returned from Oregon to  LA and she no longer existed for him. 
  11. Barbra Streisand, Hello Dolly!at 1968.    Having been seen and/or passed on nearly all the 60s musicals,  and knowing what it was like losing one's Broadway role tp another, it was  no surprise when Julier refused Dolly.  She wouldn't  take it from its rightful owner, its Broadway star, Carol Channing (her co-star in Thoroughly Modern Millie). Fox also looked at Carol Burnett, Doris Day, Shirley MacLaine, Debbie Reynolds and (gulp!) Elizabeth Taylor! All she knew about singing was having wed (Debbie’s) Eddie Fisher. But insisted on Barbra, hot after her Funny Girl  Oscar. She told the suits to  hire an older woman?  “ I was totally miscast. I tried to get out of it. I think it’s so silly… so old-time musical.” Well, of course, because director Gene Kelly was stuck in 40s/50s aspic. When nominated for a Broadway Tony for her Funny Girl, Streisand was beaten by… well, hello Carol!

  12. Petula Clark, Goodbye Mr Chips, 1969.   She  was due to re-unite with her Camelot stage partner, Richard Burton... who, ironcially, refused Pet Clark as a substitute because she was... a singer!   What was Julie,  an ecdysiast?
  13. Julia Foster, Half A Sixpence, 1967.  As we have seen, she was chased for just every musical. lParamount didn’t quite understand what it had in the musical based on HG Wells’ Kipps - wanting Andrews or Ann-Margret, Dick Van Dyke and Bob Hope for the top roles!
  14. Liza Minnelli, Cabaret, 1971.  Confirming the fact that director Bob Fosse was here to stay (alas not for long enough), Cabaret stems from the Weimar Berlin stories by Christopher Isherwood who based his main character (he is the other one!) Sally Bowles on the British often naked teenage libertine flapper-actress-singer-writer Jean Ross - later Communist, Spanish civil war correspondent and lover of jazz pianist (later actor) Peter van Eyck.   On her father’s advice, Minnelli (rejected for the Broadway production!) chanelled Louise Brooks as Sally. Isherwood said Liza was too talented  such a “medicore” singer.  Never said what he thought of her ten rivals: Ursula Andfess, Julie Andrews, Ann-Margret, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Jill Ireland (!), Glenda Jackson, Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand, Brenda Vaccaro and Natalie Wood.

  15. Angela Lansbury, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971.     Disney's inevitable choice for  Eglantine Price (a witch in training) as songs and scenes were devised by Mary Poppins maker Robert Stevenson and songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman. Angela had been one of Disney's early thoughts for Mary Poppins
  16. Twiggy, The Boy Friend, 1971.    Announced  for the lead in 1964. Twiggy’s was the West End role that led to Julie winning My Fair Lady on Broadway.  
  17. Glenda Jackson, The Boy Friend, 1971.   Then, in  1970, Ken Russell cheekily offered her the cameo of the injured star... (so  the  understudy  must go on...and be a star).
  18. Mia  Farrow, Follow Me! (US: The Public Eye), 1972.  The 1965 plan was Cary Grant as the detective following Julie Andrews as a possibly unfaithful wife became Burton-Elizabeth Taylor for a wee while - like so many projects during the Burtons’ boom.  Finally the Israeli  star, Topol, kept an eye on  Mia Farrow in director  Carol Reed’s finale.  Dame Maggie Smith created the role in Peter Shaffer’s one-act play, The Public Ear, in 1962.   Chicago critic Roger Ebert shredded it: “The actors actually manage to make this look worse than it sounds (and I am not being very easy on it).“
  19. Tuesday Weld, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leone claimed he interviewed “over 3,000 actors” and taped 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in his New York gangster epic.  He certainly saw four for Jamwes Woods’ moll, Carol - Andrews, Claudia Cardinale (sole female star of his better epic, Once Upon a Time in the West) and Kay Lenz… who must have been surprised not to find herself among the 33 girls he saw for Robert De Niro’s  nymphet, Deborah.
  20. Jane Alexander, City Heat, 1984.    Not often a Clint Eastwood film goes belly up. Well, it was Blake Edwards project to begin with:  Kansas City Jazz. Mailing his script to Sondra Locke to win the interest of her lover, Eastwood.Edwards naturally suggested his own wife for the other role.  Clint’s co-star, Burt Reynolds, yelled foul! Having made The Man Who Loved Womenwith Julie (also directed by Edwards), Burt had no wish to repeat the experience. Clint backed him up - getting rid of the both Edwards and Sondra, as well.   And so JA was replaced by…  JA. 

  21. Patricia Hodges, Sunset, 1987.   You only need to see the movie to immediately know this one…  Julie backed off from playing a woman with a grown son.  Julie was 53, yet the director gave in. Of course, he did. He was her husband, Blake Edwards.  Hodges looked and sounded very Julie.
  22. Kim  Basinger, My Stepmother  Is  An  Alien, 1988.     Film went through three  female aliens,  three  titles,  eight writers, 15 scripts and $2m in six years.  And never got it right!
  23. Angela Lansbury, Beauty and the Beast, 1990.  Julie was up for voicing Mrs Potts in Disney’s 30th toon feature - won by Lansbury, one of Walt Disney’s original choices for Mary Poppins, long before the 1963 production.  Julie finally  joined cartoon voices as John Cleese’s queen in  the Shrek franchise in 2003.
  24. Leslie Caron, Let It Be Me, 1995.    Too busy planning a Broadway version of Victor/Victoria - and refusing a stage Thoroughly Modern Millie.
  25. Maggie Roswell, The Simpsons #166: Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious, TV, 1997. Since its 1989 birth, the yellowtoon family Simpson smashed records for episodes, audiences, and the most guest stars (as themselves or others). From Buzz Aldrin, Glenn Close (Homer’s Mom), Dennis Franz (Evil Homer!), George Harrison, Stephen Hawking, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hope, Eric Idle to Paul and Linda McCartney, Conan O’Brien (a Simpsons writer made good), Michelle Pfeiffer, Mickey Rooney, Ringo Starr, Meryl Streep plus Barry (and Betty) White!  Not all celebs agree though… Julie decided not to answer Marge’s ad for a nanny in a tale and title obviously designed for Julie and no one  else. Well, except Roswell. 
  26. Christine Ebersole,The Wolf of Wall Street, 2012.   Martin Scorsese’s first notion for the titular eco-criminal Leonardo DiCaprio’smother - in their fifth collaboration. (Rob Reiner played his father. And two other directors were also cast: Jon Favreau and Spike Jonze).
  27. James Corden, Into The Woods, 2013.
  28. Glenn Close, The Crooked House, 2017.  Agatha Christie’s 1949 mystery, was, allegedly, her favourite work.  The reason it took 68 years to be filmed is because the killer (not really a spoiier) is a child. Tut, tut!  Neil LaBute planned a version in 2010. He aimed for Dame Julie as the whacky/tweedy Lady Edith, with a savge way of  moles. "I could use poison, but a shotgun expresses my feelings much better."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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