Jane Wyman

  1. Rosalind Marquis,, Marked Woman, 1936. “I’ll get you even if I have to crawl back from my grave to do it..!”  Jane Wyman changed her mind about playing Florrie opposite  Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart – and Eduardo Ciannelli as the gangster based on Lucky Luciano – ratted out by his hookers after yeasf of abuse.  This was Bette’s first film back at Warner Bros after losing the London trial aimed at breaking her contract.

  2. Bette Davis, Kid Galahad, 1937.       Edward G Robinson wanted Jane, complaining that Bette was  “as  hard  as  steel”  – not vulnerable enough. Five years later,  Eddie “adopted” Wyman in Larceny Inc. She was then wed to Ronald  Reagan, one of  Robinson’s  least favourite  people since  the dullard actor got into  anti-Communist-cum-anti-Semitic  ring-wing politics.

  3. Brenda Marshall, Highway West, 1941.     In and then out, Wyman was replaced by Marshall as the wife who finds out that her oh-so-respectable hubby, Arthur Kennedy, ain’t necessarily so…  But hey! we knew what was coming as this here’s a re-tread of 1933’s Heat Lightning with Aline MacMahon and Preston Foster.  Busy year for Brenda – she also wed William Holden. They divorced in 1971.
  4. Brenda Marshall, You Can’t Escape Forever, 1942    Small world… Amusing little rehash of Hi, Nellie!, 1933, and Love is on The Air, 1936, to be respun as The House Across The Street, in 1949. The newspaper yarn has stuff from George Brent’s previous Front Page Woman,1935, based (like Nellie!) on another Roy (Nellie!)Chanslor story that also begins with a female journo fainting at at execution. First Bette Davis, now Marshall, after Wyman passed. 
  5. Joan Leslie, Cinderella Jones, 1946.      Wyman and Faye Emerson were on the Warner Bros list for Judy Jones, a surprise heiress to a fortune. If (there has to be an if!) she obeys thge will’s marriage deadline clause.  Robert Alda and William Prince were eager to comply.
  6. Ida Lupino, On Dangerous Ground, 1950.   Also in the snowy mountains frame for the blind Mary were Lauren Bacall, Olivia de Havilland, Faith Domergue Susan Hayward, Wanda Hendrix, Deborah Kerr, Janet Leigh, Margaret Sullavan, Teresa Wright – and Broadway newcomer Margaret Phillips.   RKO chose well. Because, although un-credited, Lupino also co-directed the noir thriller with Nicholas Ray. In all, she helmed 41 films and TV shows during 1949-1968 when Hollywood women were just supposed to pout, pirouette and pucker up.
  7. Eve Miller,  The Big Trees, 1952.      The ex-Mrs  Reagan  (her boredom about his politics led to divorce) was  enjoying her Warner spell until refusing Kirk Douglas’  Western.  Her punishment was being  loaned out for a film refused by both Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman, The Blue Veil.
  8. Teresa Wright, The Actress, 1953.      Ruth Gordon wanted Spencer Tracy to play her father in her script of her autobiographical play.She had already written two of his and Katharine Hepburn’s nine films (Adam’s Rib, Pat and Mike) with husband Garson Kanin.. Finding mother was not so easy. Shirley Booth was rehearsing a play; Uta Hagen was “stunning” but… Helen Hayes felt too old; Tracy voted Dorothy McGuire (not for the first time); andlike Maureen Stapleton, Wyman had a chance until director George Cukor felt Teresa had the Wright comedic edge.
  9. Diana Lynn, The Kentuckian, 1954.        In April, producer-director Burt Lancaster talked about Wyman for Susie Spann. Except the star – also Lancaster ! – did not want anyone taking the shine off him.
  10. Susan Hayward, I’ll Cry Tomorrow, 1955.    MGM went through an odd mix of actresses and ages! (from Piper Laurie at 23 to Jane Wyman at 38) to play the 30s’ alcoholic singer Lilian Roth.  Ann Blyth, Grace Kelly (!), Janet Leigh, Jane Russell, Jean Simmons and  Shelley Winters. Director Charles Walters quit when his choice of June Allyson (no, really!) was rejected (obviously) while Ava Gardner stopped trying to win another 30s chanteuse, Ruth Etting in Love Me or Leave Me,  to battle  for Roth. After winning Best Actress at the 1956 Cannes festival, Hayward won her fourth Oscar nomination. She won one for the similar sounding but way heavier I Want to Live! about the 1955 gas chamber execution of alleged killer Barbara Graham. Said her producer Walter Wanger: ‘Thank goodness, we can all relax, Susie’s won the Oscar she has been chasing for 20 years.”

  11. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
  12. Lana Turner, Peyton Place, 1956.       All the obvious, well, MILFS, of their were in the  frame for Constance McKenzie – in the mother and father of all movie and TV soaps.  Namely: Wyman, Turner, Joan Crawford, Olivia de Havilland, Susan Hayward.  
  13. Ingrid Bergman, Anastasia, 1956.      Three years earlier, Warner Bros bought Marcelle Maurette’s play – for Wyman as the titular, mystery woman claiming to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, youngest daughter of the last Russian Tsar… and sole survivor of the 1918 assassination of the principal Imperial royal family. Exiled aunts never recognised her. She went to court to claim her inheritance. She lost the 1938-1970 case and on her death was proved an imposter called Franziska Schanzkowska. Bergman was banished by Hollywood after the hypocrotical scandal of her adultery with Italian neo-realistic director Roberto Rossellini in1949 (because no one in LA committed adultery or had a child out of wedlock – hello, Loretta Young!). Finally, she was forgiven – winning the Best Actress Oscar on March 27, 1957, picked up by old friend Cary Grant. She did not return to Hollywood until Cactus Flower in 1969.
  14. Susan Hayward,  The Valley of the Dolls, 1967.

 Birth year: 1914Death year: 2007Other name: Casting Calls:  14