Wendy Barrie

  1. Ida Lupino, The Lady and the Mob, 1938. Battle of the Brits. Columbia Pictures wanted either of the fast rising new Brits in town, Wendy Barrie or Ida Lupino for Lila Thorne.  Lupino won and had to put up with Fay Bainter as her mother-in-law from Hell.   And, as an earlier title had revealed, machine guns.

  2. Joan Fontaine, The Constant Nymph, 1942.  Arriving for  lunch at Romanoff’s, director Edmund Goulding stopped by Brian Aherne’s table to chat with his pal.  (He’d starred in the 1933 UK version).  Goulding said it was impossible to find the lead girl. He’d tried Bette Davis,  Wendy Barrie, Olivia De Havilland, Jennifer Jones, Joan Leslie, Eve March, Merle Oberon, Margaret Sullivan. Head brother Jack Warner craved A Star. “She has to be consumptive, flat-chested, anemic, and 14!” “How about me?” said the the freckled miss sitting with Aherne. “Who are you?” asked Goulding, somehow not recognising his friend’s wife in a leather flight suit and pigtails (they had just flown into LA from their Indio ranch). “Joan Fontaine.”  “You’re perfect!”  She was 25. So what! She signed next day and called it “the happiest motion-picture assignment of my career.” Oscar nomination, included.   Well at 25, she was, remember, playing a 14-year-old infatuated with Charles Boyer (in her husband’s ’33 role).

 Birth year: 1912Death year: 1978Other name: Casting Calls:  2