Lee Majors

  1. Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy, 1968.  The only American X-rated production to win a Best Picture, Adapted Script and Director Oscars. Plus nominations for the three stars, Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight and Sylvia Miles. . And yet an UA suit once suggested: “If we could clean this up and add a few songs, it could be a great vehicle for Elvis!”  Well, having secretly obtained copies of the script, both Elvis and Warren Beatty were determined to play the street hustler Joe Buck. No way, said UK director John Schlesinger. “You’re too well known to play a dishwasher who lives in New York and fucks a lot of women.”  Elvis made Change of Habit(aka Elvis and The Nun!) instead – and quit movies as he was never allowed to stretch. The unknown Harrison Ford and Kiel Martin (from TV’s The Virginian) tested for Joe.,  So did  London’s Hoboken  actor  Stuart Copper, future director of 27 movies.   Lee Majors won Joe but was suddenly his Western series, The Big Valley, was renewed. And so Canadian Michel Sarazzin became Buck – until Universal, where he was contracted,  wanted more money for him. Enter: Jon Voight, having  by now worked on his Texan accent enough.   For the French language  release, Voight was dubbed by rising French star Patrick Dewaere. (On  April 18, 1968, Daily Variety actually stated that Van Heflin was being considered for Joe. At the time, Heflin was… 60.  And, of course, up for the Barnard Hughes role of Joe Buick;s old gay guy victim).
  2. Roger Herren, Myra Breckinridge, 1969. The future Six Million Dollar Man refused Rusty – who was  anally raped by the the titular Raquel Welch with a strap-on!  But he introduced his lover, Farrah Fawcett, to UK director Michael Sarne. She beecame Mary Ann. It was her first film, not her happiest experience. Neither the top-starring Raquel Welch and Mae West treated her well.  “It was a terrible picture. But it taught me a lot about egos and star-trips. Everyone was on that!” The terrible movies ruined the careers of Sarne, Welch and Herren – who won but three screen roles, two uncredited, and Rusty, savaged by critics as well as Myra.
  3. Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy, 1969.  Another X-rated “scandal” from another (rather better) UK director…  Majors was  John Schlesinger’s ideal Joe Buck – with a definite shot at an Oscar – except he was trapped in  Barbara Stanwyck’s Big Valleyad, TV, 1965-1969.  If he had the controversial double-X-whammy Myra and Cowboy, TV suits would never have chosen him for The Six Million Dollar hero. 
  4. Mac Davis, North Dallas Forty, 1979,  Lee refused for another project that never happened. Majors stayed minor as The  Six Million Dollar Man, TV, 1974-1978.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  4