Lupe Velez

  1. Phyllis Haver, The Battle of the Sexes. 1927.    DW Griffith – Him Self! – filmed the Daniel Carson Goodman story in 1914 with Lilian Gish as Donald Crisp’s daughter.   He  decided to try it again  13 years later.  With Gish, this time, as in the much livelier role of gold-digger Marie Skinner.  Too lively, apparently, for Gish as Mary Philbin was quickly announced  – and even Lupe Velez, but DW kept her for his next gig, the semi-talkie Lady of the Pavements, in 1928. Finally, and with much less of a fanfare, Haver landed Marie – and the Judsons, father and daughter,  became Jean Hersholt and Sally O’Neil. 

  2. Helen Hayes,  The Son-Daughter, 1932.   The first plan was the French Jacques Feyder directing Velez as the titular Lien Wha.  Then, Clarence Brown helming Anna May Wong. No, said the suits, she’s “too Chinese to play a Chinese”! No, really.  Finally, MGM chose the First Lady of the American Theatre Helen Hayes. Too Caucasian. Like all the other Chinese characters: HB Warner, Ramon Novarro, Werner Oland, Lewis Stone.

  3. Bette Davis, Bordertown, 1934.   At least Paul Muni appreciated acting  abilities, unlike, her boss, head bro Jack Warner. Due to her work in Of Human Bondage, Muni chose her over  Carole Lombard and Lupe Velez for the deranged Marie after his hide. And bed. Bette deliberately l underplayed the woman’s madness, contrary to director Archie Mayo’s wishes. ”Believe, me,” she told him, ”I know something of psychopsthisc women.” A reference to her mother, sister and daughter.

  4. Pola Negri, Hi Diddle Diddle,1942.    Lupe’s burlesque queen became Constance Bennett’s nightclub singer  (but not when she heard her songs were going to be dubbed) and, finally, Negri’s cabaret chanteuse. The ex-silent star’s next film was The Moon-Spinners… in 1963.

 Birth year: 1908Death year: 1944Other name: Casting Calls:  4