Tommy Lee

  1. Claude Jarman Jr, The Yearling, 1945.         Filming Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, was and on-off-on enterprise over seven years mainly because MGM could never find the right kid. Jody Baxter kept changing.   From Gene Reynolds (too old at 15) to Gene Eckman’s impenetrable Georgia accent. The English-French-Cherokee Lance Fuller tested at 12 but like Eckman, quickly outgrew Jody. An overweight Spencer Tracy knew he was wrong for the father. “Looks like I ate the boy!” He still tested with Roddy McDowell (originally booked as Fodderwing). Then, everyone was re-cast… (Tracy, Ann Revere, as Jody’s folks became Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman). Tommy Lee auditioned for Jody in January 1945 and Jarman, all of eleven,  was found on February 14 in Nashville. A later producer and film festival organiser, Jarman was such a moving Jody, he was given a mini-Oscar in 1947. Reynolds became the successful TV producer-director of M*A*S*H, Lou Grant, etc. McDowall made 263 other screen roles, Fuller 59, Lee 41… while Eckman never made any.

 Birth year: 1901Death year: 1976Other name: Casting Calls:  1