Yvonne De Carlo

  1. Carol Thurston, The Story of Dr Wassell, 1943.     De Carlo, Veronica Lake, Simone Simon and Elena Verdugo tested for CB De Mille’s true WWII drama as the courageous Java nurse Tremartini – inevitably nicknamed Three Martini.
  2. Maureen O’Hara, Bagdad, 1949.    And when you come to think of it, who better to replace the exotic Canadian pin-up as Princess Marjan back in ole Bagdad after her English education   than a fiery redhead from County Dublin…

  3. Hedy Lamarr,   Samson and Delilah, 1949.   
    Cinemperor  Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan had been Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins….  Now, as he couldn’t get any of them, he sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner” from among… Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954),  Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), , Miriam Hopkins (in 1935), Susan Hayward  (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), song ’n’ dancer Betty Hutton, Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Vivien Leigh, Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Jean Simmons (too young at 19), Gene Tierney, Lana Turner. Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is larger than the leading lady’s!”  (David O Selznick had envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich in the earlier 40s).

  4. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 1952.   Frank Capra (and George Stevens) wanted Liz Taylor, William Wyler liked Suzanne Cloutier (the future Mrs Peter Ustinov) for the runaway Princess Ann.   A further 28 actresses were seen, the good, bad and risible – like the current sex-bombs Yvonne De Carlo Diana Dors, Gina Lollobrigida, Sylvana Mangano, Shelley Winters.  Apart from, perhaps, Vanessa Brown, Mona Freeman and Wanda Hendrix (even though  her real name as Dixie), the Hollywood hopefuls  – singer Rosemary Clooney(George’s aunt), Jeanne Crain, Nina Foch, Janet Leigh, Joan Leslie, June Lockhart, Dorothy Malone, Patricia Neal, Barbara Rush – were soon discarded, lacking the stature of Euro-royalty. Idem for the Euros – Swedish Bibi Andersson, and the French Capucine, Leslie Caron, Jeanne Moreau. Which left several perfect Brits Claire Bloom, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Kay Kendall, Deborah Kerr, Angela Lansbury, Moira Shearer, and, of course, Audrey, … soon gracing the Time cover, hailed by the New York Times as a “slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike” with, added Variety, a “delightful affectation in voice and delivery, controlled just enough to have charm and serve as a trademark,” (And, Indeed, it did for evermore).

  5. Ava Gardner, The Barefoot Contessa, 1954.    Yvonne took two of Ava’s 50s output   but not The Big One… based, said Joe Mankiewicz, on Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth and the 1931 Tabu star Anne Chavalier.   Ava was suddenly telling MGM: “Get me out of the country!”   Her   tempestuous mariage to Sinatra had imploded and she wanted escape – and money. She got less than half of the $200,000 MGM   charged   for her services.

  6. Rossana Podesta, Helen of Troy, 1956.    Ava, Lana, Liz, Yvonne?   No, what better than picking  an unknown Italian who did not speak English…   when Brigitte Bardot was already there in   the cast!  
  7.  Debra Paget, Omar Khayyam, 1956In the Persian frame for Sharain were De Carlo, Joan Collins, Joanne Dru and Donna Reed.  Persia was played  by  the Indio and Palm Springs regions of Southern California.
  8. Virginia Mayo, The Story of Mankind, 1956.     Ronald Colman’s final film (idem for the Marx Bros) is one of the worst ever made… totally destroying  Henrik Van Loon’s witty history of the human race. With Harpo as Sir Isaac Newton, Dennis Hopper as Napoleon, Hedy Lamarr as Joan of Arc, Peter Lorre as Nero, Vincent Price as The Devil… and De Carlo as Cleopatra. Or she was until Cleo was Mayo. They were all offered $25,000 for a single day’s work. Whether they got it is the history of mankind…

 Birth year: 1922Death year: 2007Other name: Casting Calls:  8