“This is our first date, I just want to look pretty for her.”
An actor is complaining about a lack of work. Says the agent to his client…
“You wanna soap opera?
the character’s a woman.”
Martin Baum talked to Peter Sellers about the idea when it was still called – in the best of agents’ expressions – Would I Lie ToYou? Yet chubby comic Buddy Hackett could be saidto have started the Tootsie ball rolling. In 1978, he told his friend, Charles Evans,that he wanted to play the agent.
Don McGuire’s script was then resting (rather likethe character of actor, Michael Dorsey) with GeorgeHamilton.He was looking for a follow-up tohis surprise comedy success,Love At First Bite.He had Bite writer Bob Kaufmantuning up the McGuirescenarioas”a$4.5million extendedsitcom.”Dick Richards was set to direct.
Then, The Sun Tan King fell upon Zorro, The Gay Blade…
Charles Evans did not give up. He started talking to expected, uninspired targets:Chevy Chase. Elliott Gould.George Segal.The produceralso showedthe scripttohis brother – Robert Evans, producer of Hoffman’sMarathonMan.
Having heard that Dustin was looking for an idea to play “the female characterinsideevery man,”
Charles got Richards to show the script to Dusty…who eventually based his Dorothy Michaels on his mother:
“The spirit of a chorus girl,
the legs of Ann Miller.”
Richards survivedthe inevitablechangesas co-producerwith directorSidney Pollack…whoalso took over Buddy Hackett’s dream role of the agent.