Jill Clayburgh


  1. Susan St James, McMIllan & Wife, TV, 1971-1977.   As his film career never recovered from Seconds and Darling Lili, Rock Hudson turned to the tube with script, casting and director approval dfrom the   Once Upon a Dead Man pilot get-go. For example, he selected Susan over Jill Clayburgh, Angie Dickinson and Diane Keaton, for Police Commissioner McMillian’s missus, Sally McMillan.  “She put him at ease.:” said producer (and Thin Man fan) Leonard Stern. “She had a sense of humour… and she seemed to be the right age.” (Oh really? She was 21 years younger than Hudson!).  Susan quit after ’75-76 season over a salary dispute (what else?) and was killed off in a plane crash.  The show was the least successful one-third of the NBC Mystery Movie series, alongside Peter Falk’s Columbo and Dennis Weaver’s McCloud. (Columbo is still playing on in France as I write this in May 2022).

  2. Diane Keaton, The Godfather, 1971.

  3. Kitty Winn,The Exorcist,1972.
  4. Marsha Mason, Blume In Love, 1973.   Her first screen test.
  5. Lois Smith, Next Stop Greenwich Village, 1976.   Her second – also for director Paul Mazursky. She won her third for his An Unmarried Woman.
  6. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.   
  7. Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1976.
  8. Faye Dunaway, Network, 1976. Having worked with the world’s “greatest English-speaking actress” on Murder on the Orient Express in 1974, director Sidney Lumet wanted Vanessa as Diana Christensen, “the ratings-hungry programming executive who is prepared to do anything for better numbers,” as critic Roger Ebert put it. But the Jewish scenarist Paddy Chayefsky refused her, due to her sympathies with the PLO: Palestine Liberation Organisation.  “Paddy, that’s blacklisting,” said Lumet, also Jewish. “Not when a Jew does it to a Gentile,” retorted Paddy. Also in the Diana mix: Candice Bergen, Ellen Burstyn, Jill Clayburgh, Jane Fonda, Kay Lenz (stuck on TV’s Rich Man, Poor Man), Marsha Mason and Natalie Wood. Faye won one of the four Oscars won by the “satire” which became reality when the fictional UBS network became a fact. Fox.  And her then husband, photpoghrtapher Terry O’Neill, got his classic  Morning After picture.
  9. Romy Schneider, La mort en direct (UK/US: Death Watch), France-West Germany-UK, 1979.   Lyons realisateur Bertrand Tavernier unwisely  insisted on Romy and Harvey Keitel, while the US producers wanted American names: Clayburgh, Jane Fonda or Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro or Richard Gere.
  10. Sally Field, Norma Rae, 1979.    What do they know? Clayburgh, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Marsha Mason spurned director Martin Ritt and had to watch the delightful Sally win Best Actress at Cannes andOscar night! No wonder she made two more Marty movies: Back Road,1980, and Murphy’s Romance, 1984. Plus, he didn’t hit on her like Bob Rafaelson did during Stay Hungry, in 1975.
  11. Barbara Hershey, The Entity, 1980.    Clayburgh, Sally Field, Jane Fonda and Bette Midler (!) were listed for poor Clara, pursued by the titular being. “The film you have just seen,” said the credits, “ is a fictional account of a true incident which took place in Los Angeles, California, in October 1976. It is considered by psychic researchers to be one of the most extraordinary cases in the history of parapsychology. The real Carla Moran is today living in Texas with her children. The attacks, though decreased in both frequency and intensity… continue.”  Bollywood copied it (plus The Shining and Poltergeist) as Hawa, in 2003.
  12. Blair Brown, Continental Divide, 1981.   Universal dallied with reuniting Jill and Robert De Niro from Wedding Party, 1966. Spielberg produced it with John Belushi and Brown. Flop!
  13. Domiziana Giordano, Nostalghia, Italy-Russia, 1982.  For his first film made outside his motherland,  Andrei Tarkovsky, hailed as the finest Russian film-maker since Sergei  Eisenstein, saw numerous films to find his cinematographer and leading lady and usually said: “Hated it, loved her…” Fanny Ardant in Truffaut’s La femme d’à côté Jill Clayburgh in Paul Mazursky’s  An Unmarried Woman…  Aurore Clément in Elio Petri’s Buone notizie.  Brigitte Fossey promised to drop everything to work with him and he was much taken by Isabelle Huppert (she and Clayburgh shared the 1978 Cannes festivall best actress award). Italian money insisted on an Italian star. He did not want  Marcello Mastroianni or Ugo  Tognazzi but fell for Giordano – for the second of her 18 screen roles.  Ingmar Bergman said Tarkovsky was “the most important director of all time.” A  minor planet was named after him in 1982 – 3345 Tarkovsky.

 Birth year: 1944Death year: 2010Other name: Casting Calls:  13