Trevor Howard


  1. Orson Welles, The Third Man,  1947.     British director Carol Reed’s original thought for Harry Lime became his hunter, Major Calloway.
  2. Kieron Moore, The Naked Heart, 1949.  Producer Alexander Korda  began filming his version of Maria Chapdelaine in Canada with his new UK “star,”  Barbara White,  and Howard –  threw it away and started anew three years later Moore and Michele Morgan.
  3. Leo Genn, The Red Beret (US: Paratrooper), 1952.  London’s Warwick Films plan of cheaply hiring fading Hollywood stars for UK movies started here with Alan Ladd as a “Canadian” joining the British Army’s paras. Cubby Broccoli used his Hollywood contacts to win the stars – Ladd three times, Van Johnson, Victor Mature (six), Ray Milland (also up for Ladd’s “Canada”), Jack Palance, Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark (two) – and Irving Allen kept the purse-strings taut. . A mere $200,000, for example.   And one could say it all began when the British screen’s #1 WWII hero, Richard Todd, refused this movie for being “far-fetched.”  Presumably Howard felt the same…  Both guys were later   popular  (if hackneyed) choices for Cubby’s first Bond film, Dr No, 1962.
  4. Stewart Granger, Bhowani Junction, 1955.    Director George Cukor wanted Howard for Colonel Rodney Savage – one of three men (rather than  Cukor’s usual two) surrounding the heroine.  Ava Gardner in this case – at her most erotic.
  5. Anthony Quayle, The Battle of the River Plate, 1956.   Second in line behind Quayle to be Commodore Henry Harwood, of HMS Ajax, when director Michael Powell could not land the Admiralty’s (and Hollywood’s) main choice: Jack Hawkins
  6. Michael Rennie, Omar  Khayyam,  1957.     “A ridiculous thing,” said Howard who avoided  LA  like the plague.  “Once they  tried to  fix a deal  over  my  head without giving me the slightest idea what the part was.  When I refused, they took  it  to  the courts.”  So,  little  hesitation  in rejecting Omar’s Rubiayat advice:  “Ah, take the cash in hand and waive the rest.”
  7. Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia, 1961.
  8. Rex Harrison, Cleopatra, 1963.
  9. John Mills, King Rat, 1964. Blacklisted Hollywood writer Carl Foreman (High Noon) decided to film James Cavell’s tough book about his three years as a WWII prisoner of the Japanese. With the finest UK actors:  new guys Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole, veterans Trevor Howard, John Mills.  He then felt he had no more to say about war after The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone and The Victors. UK writer-director Bryan Forbes made it his Hollywood debut, bravely side-stepping Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra for the Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf find, George Segal – as the titular wheeler-dealer-fixer-conniver who all but ends up running the jungle camp. 
  10. Sean Connery, Thunderball, 1965.

  11. Richard Burton, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, 1965.  
    What the hell do you think spies are? They’re just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me: little men, drunkards, queers, henpecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives.”  Author John le Carré had wanted Trevor Howard or Peter Finch (both also up for 007) as his spy Alec Leamas but was delighted with Burton. (Hollywood’s first idea had been Paul Newman. Burt Lancaster would have been bette).  Director Martin Ritt did not gell with Burton and, in front of the entire unit, called him “an old whore” who had just delivered his “last good lay.” John  le Carré disagreed.   Richard Burton was “a literate, serious artist, a self-educated polymath with appetites and flaws that in one way or another we all share.”

  12. David Niven, Casino Royale, 1966.
  13. George C Scott, The Bible… In the Beginning, 1966.    Orson Welles’ idea for Abraham – before John Huston took over the entire project as director, Noah, and the voice of the Narrator, The Serpent and, well why not one more, of God, Himself.
  14. Mary Morris, The Prisoner, TV,1967.Forthe Dance of the Dead episode,Howard was due asthe latest Number 2 – dressed as Jack The Ripper.   Director Don Chaffey substituted Morris dressed as Peter Pan.
  15. Jack Hawkins, Shalako, 1968.     Between the opening announcement and shooting, there was a change of Sir Charles Daggett.
  16. TP McKenna, Straw Dogs, 1971.  Howard and director Sam Peckinpah in the same bar – the film would never have started! The Irish McKenna played  Major Scott, with an arm in a sling… he’d  busted it during a wild Peckinpah party with a some hookers, what else?
  17. Robert Mitchum, The Wrath of God, 1972.  .  Rita Hayworth’s 66th and final movie… Director Ralph Nelson always wanted Howard as Father Oliver Van Horne in the Tex-Mex Western. He got Mitchum.  And  as Mitchum said when replaced by Peter O’Toole in Rosebud, 1964: ”That’s like replacing Ray Charles with Helen Keller.”
  18. Marius Goring, Holocaust, TV, 1978.   One of American TV’s golden moments, but Howard simply refused the role of the twin-episode role of Heinrich  Palitz.
  19. Alan Webb, The First Great Train Robbery, 1978.       “I’ve been #2 in films for donkey’s years.” Here, he was suggested for Edgar Trent by Sean Connery –   who had become A Giant Star as James Bond, a role once considered for Howard.
  20. John Castle, Eagle’s Wing, 1979.    He passed on a rare British Western. Obviously!

  21. Marlene Dietrich, Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo/Just A Gigolo, Germany, 1979.    And he also passed on what became Marlene’s55th and final screen role -running a Berlin gigolo stable. It was scenarist Joshua Sinclair who suggested switching the pimp to a madame.   Marlene agreed to her first film for 16 years  (in Paris, minus co-star David Bowie) and was “quaking with nerves, ” said her final director David Hemmings. “She was incredibly self-fulfilling as an actress…. She even agreed to sing ’Just A Gigolo.’ There was – literally – not a dry eye in the house. We had been admitted to a moment of great professional privilege.”
  22. Freddie Jones, The Elephant Man, 1980.   Refused to run the freak show… starring poor John Merrick.
  23. Edward Fox, Never Say Never Again, 1983.
  24. Thorley Walters, The Sign of Four, TV, 1983.    In Britain, Walters was almost as famous as Hollywood’s Nigel Bruce for playing Dr Watson. Not this time. David Healy – an American, by thunder! – worked with Ian Richardson’s Holmes. And Walters replaced Howard as Major John Sholto, his first non-Watsonian appearance in a Conan Doyle tale.

  25. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984.  
  26. Frank Finlay, Lifeforce, 1984.   
  27. Aubrey Morris, Lifeforce, 1984.  

  28. Nigel Havers, Burke & WIils, Australia, 1984.   B&W were the down-under equivalant of the historic US explorers Lewis and Clark. In August  1860, Irish cop Robert O’Hara Burke, an Irish cop, and English gent William John Wills, set out –  with 28 horses, 26 camels, 21 tons of equipment, 17 men and six wagons to become the first white men to cross Australia from South to North. Only one man, John King, survived…  In 1971, Nicol Williamson-Hywel Bennett were set for such a film, followed by Charlton Heston-Trevor Howard, before Aussie director Graeme Clifford got the job done with Jack Thompson, of course, and Nigel  Havers.
  29. Richard Todd, Jenny’s War, TV, 1985.    The veteran Howard wisely fled General Cutler – opposite, bizarrely, Dyan Cannon as Jenny,  searching for her RAF pilot son, shot down over Germany in 1941.  Both Howard and Todd had been in  the 007 mix during the 60s. 
  30. Nigel Stock, Young Sherlock Holmes, 1985.    Howard was seen about being Professor Waxflater, forever testing his versions of the world’s first airplane.. The Steven Spielberg production proved the final film of Stock (a Dr Watson in the ‘60s) – and indeed of three other UK character stalwarts: Willoughby Goddard, Brian Oulton and Lockwood West.

  31. Clive Revill, Rumpelstiltskin, US-Israel, 1986.      Change of King Mezzer for the musical version of the Grimm brothers’ classic- first of Cannon’s Movie Tales.
  32. Ian Bannen, Hope and Glory, 1987.    The role: director John Boorman’s Grandfather George.
  33. Michael Hordern, Comrades, 1987.    The story of the 19th Century Tolpuddle Martyrs, English farm labourers. forming one of the first trade unions.










 Birth year: 1916Death year: 1988Other name: Casting Calls:  31