Nancy Marchand

  1. Gary Cooper, North West Mounted Police, 1940.   Cecil B DeMille’s first Technicolor film was without a hero during six months of pre-production.  First choices, March, Joel McCrea, Cary Grant and John Wayne were lost to other movies. Coop became  the Texas Ranger working with the Mounties after swopping roles with McCrea so that Joel could make Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent.  

  2. Pat Carroll, The Little Mermaid, 1989.     “An answer to a prayer,” said Carroll on winning her lifetime’s ambition – voicing a Disney character.   Ursula had been designed for Bea Arthur – far too busy with The Golden Girls, 1985-1992. Next? Divine (!), Charlotte Rae, Roseanne, the Absolutely Fabulous Jennifer Saunders and singer Nancy Wilson. Plus a slew of veteran ladies: Marchand, Coral Browne, Sylvia Sidney and Elaine Stritch – who won the gig, then lost it after disputes with lyricist Howard Ashman. Between 1953 and 2000 on TV, Marchand – a renowned stage actor – went from being Rod Steiger’s girl in the original Marty to Edward Asner’s boss in Lou Grant, 1977 – and finally, James Gandolfini’s dreadful mother in The Sopranos, a rôle she was still playing when she succumbed to lung cancer and emphysema on June 18, 2000.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  2