Ruth Roman

  1. Jennifer Jones, Since You Went Away, 1943.    Many were seen  by producer David O Selznick for his war effort film, a US take on MGM’s Mrs Miniver. But he always knew Jane was perfect material for his future second wife.  Roman was compensated with a screen debut bit.
  2. Rhonda Fleming, Spellbound, 1945.  Alfred Hitchcock rejected Roman as Mary Carmichael and his producer, David O Selznick, borrowed Fleming from Fox.  Although far from being a typical Hitch blond, Roman’s allure appartently grew on him. Six years later, he gave hert  the female lead in Strangers on a Train. Then again, it was a Warner film and who should be under contract to the Bros and, therefore, cheaper…

  3. Hedy Lamarr,  Samson and Delilah, 1949.  
    Cinemperor Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan had been had Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins.   Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious.  He sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner”  from among… Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954), Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), Susan Hayward (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney… even such surprises as comical LucIlle Ball (!) and song ‘n’ dancer Betty Hutton.  Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is larger than the leading lady’s!”

  4. Kim Hunter, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951.    New York stage-screen director Elia Kazan tested the Warners contract artist, though dearly wanting Anne Baxter as “Stelllaaahhh!!” (The name  incidentally, of one of the film’s star Marlon Brando’s numerous Bjg Apple lovers – drama coach Stella Adler).
  5. Yvonne De Carlo, The Ten Commandments, 1954
  6. Shelley Winters, The Big Knife, 1955.   Shelley dedicated her performance as Dixie tp John Garfield – for whom  the play have been written by Clifford Odets. He also said his movie script was penned for Cary Grant.  Either way,  the drama of the doomed movie star with a tyrannical boss (Rod Steiger swlding  Columbia’s Harry Cohn and MGM’s LB Mayer) was accused of “fouling our own nest” by Production Code official in a letter to director  Robert Aldrich.
  7. Virgina Mayo, Great Day in the Morning, 1956.     Mayo loved  the idea of the Western,  working again with director Jacques Tourneur – and all on location. “But he wanted me to be Boston Grant and I thought I’d played enough hard women and asked to be the good woman.  Big mistake! Boston was far more interesting than Ann Merry Malone.” 
  8. Gene Tierney, Toys in the Attic, 1962.      Roman tested and was lucky to lose the movie of Lillian Hellman’s Broadway play. “This turgid drama and his avid actors… get completely out of hand and run wild in a baffling confusion of theatrical bursts and attitudes.” Owch! That was the New York Times critic Bosley Crowther. Obviously, director George Roy Hill was out-of-his-depth. He could not have better controlled the studio’s first, dream-wish cast. Tierney, Katharine Hepburn, Wendy Hiller and… and Vivien Leigh!
  9. Grace Zabriskie, Galaxy of Terror, 1981.  Producer Roger Corman wanted Roman but settled for the future Twin Peaks star as Captain Trantor, zealous pilot of the spacecraft Quest on a rescue mission to the mystery planet Morganthus.  Trantor was named, of course, after one of Isaac Asimov’s planets in  his  Foundation novels.

 Birth year: 1922Death year: 1999Other name: Casting Calls:  9