Kay Lenz

  1. Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver, 1975.  

  2. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.  
  3. Nancy Allen, Carrie, 1976.   

  4. Carrie Fisher,  Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1976.
  5. 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 Manand way too young at 23) , 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.  The following year, Vanessa won a support  Oscar for Julia,  despite what she called intimidation (picketing and burning her effigy) outside the event by “Zionist hoodlums.”
  6. Diane Keaton, Annie Hall, 1976.   The working title was Anhedonia – the inability to feel pleasure. Singer David Cassidy seem to suffer from it. He persuaded his girlfriend to reject the titular role. La Dee… Damn! Yet she still married him in 1977 – for six years.
  7. Bo Derek, 10, 1979.
  8. Sigourney Weaver, Alien, 1978.  Veronica Cartwright and Meryl Streep (!) were also up for Ripley, the most iconic woman in sf movies. Well, the ex-Star Beastscript stated the crew members could be male or female. Cartwright only knew she’d struck out when called back for costume tests… as  Lambert in Ridley Scott’s perfect movie.
  9. Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979.    Auditioned for Emmeline – despite Grease director Randal Kleiser wanting his shipwrecked couple to be naked throughout the re-make. (They were not). Shields had her long hair glued to her front – and a nude body double.
  10. Elizabeth McGovern, Ordinary People, 1979. Novelist Judith Guest’s anatomy of a family more in pain than love reminded Robert Redford of “the missed signals” of his own upbringing, – it became  his directing debut. Having made her mark as Clint Eastwood’s 1972 Breezy, Kay was offered one of Tim Hutton’s girl friends – Jeannine, from choir practice.  In trying to figure the girls out, Hutton’ figured himself out.

  11. Liza Minnelli, Arthur, 1980.    In an attempt to revive a career going nowhere since Clint Eastwood chose her for Breezy, 1974, Kay worked hard on trying to win Arthur’s ideal woman Linda Marolla. Her rivals included Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Kay Lenz, Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd… even Meryl Streep, Debra Winger. Plus Tuesday Weld – in the throes of divorcing the titular Dud. Gordon made a big hit, but never a second film – he died at 44 in 1982. Lenz worked on non-stop, mainly in TV, into the 21th Century – 105 titles in 44 years to 2011.
  12. Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982.    Tried hard to be the glacial Elvira Hancock, but director Brian De Palma (succeeding Sidney Lumet) rejected her. And Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Deborah Raffin, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner.  
  13. 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 Jamws Woods’ moll, Carol – Julie Andrews, Claudia Cardinale (the sole female star of his better epic, Once Upon a Time in the West), Kay Lenz… who must have been surprised not to find herself among the 33 girls seen for Robert De Niro’s nymphet, Deborah. Coming from a showbiz family, Kay made her TV debut at eight weeks old and acted in her first stage play at 13.  She later  beat Tuesday to Clint Eastwood’s first directing-only gig, Breezy, in 1972.This time, Weld had a pal in her corner – De Niro. He introed her to Leone who found her “as beautiful as the young Bardot.”

  14. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.    
    In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged 18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger.  James Cameron auteured Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… and Glenn Close won – her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no.   The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: Lenz, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson, Sigourney Weaver… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two singers (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore… plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, then from Saturday Night Live. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis). Ten years later (after T2), Linda gave birth to Cameron’s daughter and Josephine’s parents wed in 1997… for two years.

  15. Kathleen Turner, Prizzi’s Honour, 1984.      “I’ve been doin’ three to four hits a year for the past couple of years, most at full pay…” Director Johnm Huston looked over 11 Charley Partanna potentials, 19 Maerose Prizzis, but just five Irene Walkers… and three of them (Kristy McNichol, Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields) were too young to be falling for Jack Nicholson, hit man for the prizzi Family and the unlikeliest Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan. Lenz had been first choice.
  16. Mia Farrow, Hannah And Her Sisters, 1985.    The fact that David Cassidy’s now ex-wife (and  ex-teenage rodeo rider) rejected Woody Allen for a crummy horror flick called House (anyone remember it?) underlined how badly Kay played her career.  After playing William Holden’s perfect mistress – the young, sassy, sexy Breezy – for director Clint Eastwood in 1972, Kay was up for almost everything but slid into TV guest shots and the odd series, never anything important enough to steer her back to movies.  What a waste! Woody also looked at Kim Basinger, Jessica Lange and Jennifer Jason Leigh before relying on Farrow.A nd being Mia, she had “a small sick feeling” that the script revealed Woody’s feelings for her youngerr sister while he’d really been inspired by the sisters in Anna Karenina! .  Michael Caine said everyone was so respectful it was like shooting in a church. 
  17. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction1986.
  18. Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham, 1987.   Ron Shelton had one helluva job trying to win backing for his third script and directing debut. “Baseball  movies don’t sell.”  His producer Thom Mount was part-owner of the real Durham Bulls squad. He recognised what Roger Ebert would calla treasure because it knows so much about baseball and so little about love.” Kim Basinger was Shelton’s first choice for Annie (an Annie is s baseball groupie). “There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career.”  He tested Carrie Fisher, Mary Steenburgen, Pamela Stephenson, Debra Winger… considered Kate Capshaw, Geena Davis (who made the female ball movie, A League of Their Own), Michelle Pfeiffer (too young) and Isabella Rossellini… felt  Kay Lenz and Michelle Pfeiffer were too young… while Glenn Close was having Dangerous Liaisons in France, Melanie Griffith was a busy Working Girl and Kelly McGillis preferred The Accused. He also thought of Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis as The Couple but Moonlighting  got in the way.  And that’s how the splendid Susan Sarandon met Tim Robbins and lived together for 21 years.
  19. Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988.      Although considered “not sexy enough,” Jodie won the role and her first Oscar. Andie MacDowell had been first choice – understandably as the role was written for her. But Paramount suits perversely saw 40 young actresses for the (real life) gang rape victim or for their own rape bait fantasies… such as 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! Otherwise, the Fatal Attraction also-rans (from Lenz to Debra Winger, by way of Diane Keaton and, naturally, Meryl Streep). Plus Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Justine Bateman, Jennifer Beals, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Connelly, Judy Davis, Kristin Davis, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Mariel Hemingway, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly McGillis, Virginia Madsen, Demi Moore, Brigitte Nielsen, Tatum O’Neal, Kelly Preston, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Mia Sara, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman. Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!
  20. Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.

  21. Helen Slater, City Slickers, 1990.   Facing 40, three Manhattan dudes book into a dude ranch and join a cattle drive and… a perfect comedy!  Billy Crystal stars and helped write it –  and invited Superwoman, herself,  Bonnie Rayburn. Also on his dream wish list were: Mary Gross, Barbara Hershey, Kay Lenz, and Meg Ryan. Jack Palance stole the movie and won a support Oscar – 38 years after his only nomination (for the Shane gunman) and celebrated with one-arm push-ups on the Academy stage – and the 1993 sequel.
  22. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  23. Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993.       Although sharing the heroics and the driving of the bus-bomb with Keanu Reeves, most girls saw it as The Guy’s film. An amazing 36 refused to be Annie: Lenz, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Mariska Hargitay, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep (!), Emma Thompson (!), Meg Tilly, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger. 





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  22