Shirley Jones


  1. Janet Leigh, Psycho,1960.    “It was a big joke,” Hitchcock told BBC’s Monitor in 1964. “I was horrified to find some people took it seriously. Hitch took his time selecting his most famous murder victim, Marion Crane. Except he and his wife, Alma Reville,  decided that  knocking off a real movie star would make for a far bigger shock. They were right. As usual. Angie Dickinson, Martha Hyer, Shirley Jones, Hope Lange, Piper Laurie, Lee Remick, Eva Marie Saint (from his previous North By North West) and Lana Turner (?!!) all missed  the most infamous shower scene of 78 camera angles and 52 cuts in its three minutes, shot during December 17-23, 1959, with Leigh and body double Marli Renfro. “Just 52 pieces of film stuck together,” said Hitchcock. Dickinson had her own big shower moment 19 years later in Dressed To Kill.  Of course she did – her director was the infernal Hitch copier, Brian De Palma.  Which is why he also also used a body double… and then made a film, called just that. Alexandre O Philippe made a better one, 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, 2016, telling us all we ever wanted to know about what made Jane Leigh take baths for the rest of her life. As to ace credits designer Saul Bass actually directing the sequence, that’s a whole other story.  Leigh said he didn’t.  He told me he did!

  2. Hope Lange, Pocketful of Miracles, 1961.
    Directing legend Frank Capra never knew this would be his final  film. Or he would have tried harder… and dumped Glenn Ford who seemed determined determined to ruin his investment in a co-production with Capra. Ironically in Bette Davis fashion,  Ford  pissed off everyone off, particularly Capra and co-star Bette Davis! Ford insisted that Shirley Jones be dropped in favour of his  lover, Hope Lange, as his screen lover Queenie Martin.. and that Better Davis should give up her  dressingroom next to his for Lange to use.  Furthermore he more than hinted that he was saving Bette’s career by letting her play Apple Annie. ”He helped me have a comeback!” snorted Davis, “That shitheel wouldn’t have helped me out of a sewer!”  The whole enterprise, said Capra, was “shaped in the fires of discord and filmed in an atmosphere of pain, strain, and loathing.” It flopped.Of course
  3. Audrey Hepburn, My Fair Lady, 1964.  Jack Warner’s biggest error – guarding his record $5.5m purchase by choosing non-singing Hepburn (at $1m) over Broadway’s Julie Andrews  (at $75,000), thereby allowing Walt Disney to give her a triumphant, Oscar-winning consolation prize: Mary Poppins.  Head Brother Jack had even thought of Oklahoma’s Jones as the London flower-seller…opposite Rock Hudson (!!) as Henry Higgins.

  4. Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music, 1964.    Two years before the musical reached Broadway in 1959, Paramount secured rights to Germany’s 1956 Die Trapp-Familie –and  quickly cancelled the re-make when Audrey declined to  play the choir’s mother, Maria Von Trapp.  Fox’s 1957 South Pacific star Mitzi Gaynor then made “a whopping offer” for the musical only to be  beaten by Fox which played safe by wanting either Anne Bancroft, Leslie Caron, Doris Day or Grace Kelly wed to Bing Crosby (of all Austrians!) as the Von Trapps. Later as directors changed from Stanley Donen,  George Roy Hill, Gene Kelly and a deaf William Wyler to Robert Wise,  TV actress Sandra Church and Fox’s 1954 Oklahoma! star Shirley Jones were potential Marias. Critic Pauline Kael famously tried to bury “the sugar-coated lie that people seem to want to eat” but it saved Fox from the near bankruptcy  of the Cleopatra debacle.

  5. Vanessa Redgrave, Camelot, 1966.
    For his last hurrah after 45 years running Warner Bros, head bro Jack L Warner – having learned his lesson the hard way by ruining My Fair Lady – wanted the original Broadway stars to reprise their 1960 roles of King Arthur and Guenevere. Richard Burton was not keen (or not for the money on offer).  Nor was Julie Andrews, certainly not after the way Jack Warner dumped her from My Fair Lady (even though that led to her Mary Poppins Oscar). “OK, we’ll take Liz, as well,” said Warner.  And why not their mate, Peter O’Toole, as Lancelot.  However, Elizabeth Taylor was not going where Burton was not going…  Julie refused  to work with Burton’s replacement, Richard Harris. They had not got on during Hawaii –  which is where he first heard about the film and started pushing to be the king.  Top candidates to succeed Julie were  Julie Christie, Petula Clark, Marianne Faithfull, Audrey Hepburn(part of her My Fair Lady deal), Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor Jan Waters. Jack Warner separately considered the way cheaper Ann-Margret, Polly Bergen, Cher, Mitzi Gaynor and  Shirley Jones. Vanessa and  Franco Nero (as Lancelot) were lovers on and off the screen. They finally wed in  2006. 

  6. Kathy Bates, About Schmidt, 2001.    Shirley was an early idea of director Alexander Payne for jumping naked into a hot tub with Jack Nicholson.



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  7