Mamie Van Doren


  1. Denise Darcel, Vera Cruz, 1953.   MeToo in the 50s…  Mamie wrote a biography, Playing The Field (which she sure did – and why ever not). She recalled how producer and co-star Burt Lancaster interviewed her for The Countess and started trying to seduce her. She made it clear she didn’t get parts that way and her Mom was waiting outside in their car. That cooled Lancaster down.  He said she was right, gave her a script “to study and signed the blonde Parisienne for the eighth (of 14) Hollywood roles. And that was the last Mamie heard of it. 

  2. Gloria Grahame, Oklahoma, 1955.  The walls have ears…  Or showbiz mothers do….  Mamie told her acting coach how much she was fighting   to win  the role of Ado Annie.  (Betty Hutton had refused it). Bad call!  The acting coach mentioned this to her daughter – who said “Yeah, great part!” and  started her own campaign and Gloria went on to snatch  Ado from under Mamie’s considerable cleavage.

  3. Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957.      Mamie  (Mamie Van Doren!!) was a trifle old and lustily sexy at 26 for the 19-year-old Maid of Orleans. Better suited to her life as a statuesque Z-movie Marilyn clone in The Second Greatest Sex, Running Wild and, instead of virginal Joan, Untamed Youth and The Girl In Black Stockings.Then again, the casting of films by the tyrannical producer-director Otto Preminger were always surprising.  He also considered such unlikely Joans as Ursula Andress, Julie Andrews, Anne Bancroft, Claire Bloom, Carol Burnett, Joan Collins, Angie Dickinson, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore, Kim Novak (from Otto’sMan With The Golden Arm, 1955), Debbie Reynolds and Maggie Smith.

  4. Marie McDonald, Promises… Promises, 1962.       This is the film that had Playboy creator Hugh Hefner arrested for one word (writhes) in one caption for Jayne Mansfield’s nude scenes from the mindless movie. Known as “The Body,” McDonald replaced another body when Van Doren pulled out to make her own nudie (3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt, 1963). McDonald, who kept her clothes on (no one was allowed to steal Jayne’s limelight) wed the film’s producer Donald F Taylor, a violent marriage (one of her seven) quickly leading to divorce.
  5. Carroll Baker, Harlow, 1965.   Jayne, Marilyn, Stella Stevens and Mamie Van Doren were the inevitable blondes seen for probably the trashiest  of Hollywood biopix. Marilyn threw up when reading a previously rotten Fox version. “I hope they don’t do that  to me  after I’ve  gone.” (They did).  Baker had been Rina Marlowe (!)  in the same producer’s Carpetbaggers. Considering how tawdry the biopic was, Mamie would have been the perfect Jean Harlow.  This is not to say that Mamie  was tawdry. Far from it. And given the right script and directoral support, she could have proved her actual ability.  She might even have saved this second of New York producer Joseph E Levine’s three snitty/snotty movies about Hollywood –  The Carpetbaggers, 1963 (with Baker as Rina Marlowe!!!)  and The Oscar, 1965. Each one was worse than the precedent.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  5