Peggy Cummins

  1. Linda Darnell, Forever Amber,  1946.    Fresh in from London, poor Peggy was sacked after 30 days – by new director Otto Preminger, replacing John M Stahl. Previous choices were also Brits: Vivien Leigh, Margaret Lockwood. Final version was condemned by The Catholic Legion of Decency for its “glamorisation of immorality and licentiousness”… in the 1660s!   In 1957, Preminger called it “the worst picture I ever made.”
  2. Peggy Ann Garner, Thunder in the Valleyv (aka Bob, Son of Battle), 1946.      Booked for Maggie, Cummins had to leave the sheepdog saga in May to shoot The Late George Apley. Her first announced substitute, Vanessa Brown, lucked out and Garner made the heart-warmer… which failed  to warm hearts under any of its various  titles.
  3. Anne Baxter, The Luck of the Irish, 1947.    First thought for Nora, the Irish girl introducing US reporter Tyrone Power to Horace… a leprechaun with the proverbial pot o’ gold.
  4. Evelyn Keyes, Mrs Mike, 1949.        June Allyson was suggested for the lead. Of course, she was. Her husband, Dick Powell, was the star.  And producer!   Also considered for his Mountie’s Bostonian wife: Barbara Bates, Barbara Bel Geddes, Betsy Drake, Joanne Dru,  Diana Lynn. Brought over from London amid all the usual hoopla,  Peggy was soon going home.
  5. Barbara Bates, Town On Trial, 1956.      When Ella Raines fell ill, another US actress, Bates, won Elizabeth Fraser from the local talent: Cummins and Dawn Addams – for the whodunnit shot in a US style which hardly matched the setting of Surrey, the UK’s finest county. (I know ‘cos I was born and bred and buttered there).
  6. Barbara Markham, House of Whipcord, 1974. Looking for good publicity, UK schlocker Pete Walker tried to end Cumnmins’ retirement. She had not made a movie since In The Doghouse, in 1962. To Walker’s horror, 1949’s Gun Crazy was too beautiful at 50 for the manipulative sickie abusing teenage girls girls in her very own correctional unit. But… “You’re too attractive!” said Walker after her audition. He was right as Mrs Wakehurst, very much based on the UK’s housewife and so-called moral reformer (ie censor) , a dragon called Mrs Mary Whitehouse.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  6