Sorry...I just had to post this!! A few years back, when
we were discussing films that Susan 'wanted' and films that she 'turned down'..I had reported that two of the
films Susan really wanted to do were..LOVE ME OF LEAVE ME...and SOUTH PACIFIC.
There were message replies that 'I must be wrong on South Pacific...no one had 'ever' heard that she wanted to do that role.
Well...now you don't have to hear that she was up for the role. You can hear it on a new short clip with the star who did get the role in SOUTH PACIFIC..
MITZI GAYNOR. I just heard the clip, for the first time, about ten minutes ago on Turner Classic Movies.
She mentioned other actresses who were up for the role. I only remember two that she mentioned, right now...but they were DORIS DAY...and...SUSAN HAYWARD.
I have followed Susan for many and many a year and were reading things in movie magazines, probably long
before some of you knew who she even was. I have never tried to report things that I was not sure to be true.
I know there were fans, on here, who wasn't really sure that I had actually met her at the JOEY BISHOP SHOW...or that I actually saw her do MAME in Las Vegas. Everything I have ever reported on here, has been the truth..and I guess it just always bothered me that I was never quite believed on some of my reports.
Well, now folks, you have this one from the star of this show's own mouth...and not from mine. I hope this clears up the "SOUTH PACIFIC" report I made a long time ago.
Love to ALL....
I must have missed your posting about Susan's wanting to get the "South Pacific" role, since this is the first I've heard of her wanting that role, or the one in "Love Me Or Leave Me" (which I believe she would have been great in). But I personally have never doubted anything you've reported about Susan, whether from the Joey Bishop Show that she appeared on, or Mame. In fact, I envied you for actually seeing Susan up close and personal, so to speak.
I have a question for you that I posed to Trish via e-mail the other day. This past week, the singer Al Martino died in Philadelphia. Somehow, somewhere, and sometime ago, I recall reading that there was a connection between Martino and Susan (no, I don't mean romantically, although I don't rule that out). It could have been that she was a fan of his, or that she attended his concerts, but perhaps you are aware of this. If so, can you enlighten me?
Hi Errol you are always "right on" as far as I am concerned. I did hear sometime ago about "South Pacific" and Susan as a contender for the role that went to Mitzi. I wonder how that would have turned out for Susan? I also wonder about "The Graduate" was Susan one of the contenders, but turned the role down that went to Anne Bancroft. Susan would have been great as Miss Robinson. Thanks Errol
I think it's pretty conclusive that the role of Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate" was offered to Susan, but that she turned it down. I've read various reasons for her reaction, but the one that seems most like Susan was that she did not feel comfortable playing an older woman seducing a young man.
I personally think Susan would have been great in that role, as well as in "Love Me Or Leave Me," but I just can't see her in "South Pacific." But, hey, Susan Hayward surprised us many times, so maybe...
HI Again...one and all...Sorry, for not getting right over here again, after my post.
Gloria...On Al Martino..I have never heard anything about that. Whether she was a fan or not..I had never heard. I do remember, only once, her being asked on the Joey Bishop Show...if there were any of the 'newer' actors that she seemed to like to watch and she said..
she couldn't think of his name...but that guy on the tv show..COWBOY IN AFRICA...and then someone said..CHUCK CONNORS and Susan said.."Yes, that's it..CHUCK! CONNONRS" putting the emphasis on his first name! Ha!
Ray...Like Gloria said..Susan turned down Mrs. Robinson in THE GRADUATE. It was said that she had two reasons for not doing that one. She didn't like the older woman seducing the younger guy..and the fact that she was not happy as to the turn Hollywood was taking...to more and more sex and violence in films. In one of the books on her, it was said that she had gone to a showing of STEVE MC QUEEN's "THE SAND PEBBLES" and left before the film was over. She said she couldn't take the violence that was now being projected so vivid in films.
OTHER FILMS THAT SUSAN TURNED DOWN were..THE THREE FACES OF EVE..SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH..CLEOPATRA and that awful B-movie, that got her in trouble with FOX,
HILDA CRANE. No one wanted to do that one and it finally was done with JEAN SIMMONS and GUY MADISON.
AS I WAS WRITING THIS...I happened to have Turner Classic Movies on and the MITZI GAYNOR blurb came on again..so I can now tell you who the 3rd person mentioned, for the role of Nelle Forebush, in SOUTH PACIFIC...and this may really surprise you..It was..
THE WAY I HEARD IT...IN HOLLYWOOD...was that Susan had told FOX she would do anything to get that great role and they asked..."Would you audition?" and Susan snapped back..."NEVER!"..(Ha!) She probably did
but as Mitzi says in this clip,...Josh Logan and Hammerstein saw something in HER that made them think
she was completely right for the role..AND..the fact that she sang all of the songs in the same key as the great MARY MARTIN had done on Broadway.
I am not one who can see Susan as Nelle..nor can I see her as Cleopatra...but I think she would have had gotten a first Oscar if she had done THE THREE FACES OF EVE...and I can really see her in the GERALDINE PAIGE role..in SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH..but again, that was a role of an older actress on her way out..with a younger man using her to reach the top in the business.
ON...CLEOPATRA...FOX was all for her doing the role and wanted her very much, but her reply to that one was.."HA! Me as Cleopatra..barging down the Nile with my RED HAIR. No thanks! You have a young actress
right her on the lot, who would be perfect for the role. You should use...JOAN COLLINS. But FOX was not
about to do that, because Collins was still an up and coming 'yet unknown' star in the making and they weren't taking any chances like that. What they should have done...(and who knows, maybe Susan saw this one, herself..and that's why she had made the comment on Collins doing the role)...but if FOX had taken a look at JOAN COLLINS in WARNER BROS..LAND OF THE PHARAOHS..they would have known Susan to be right
JOAN COLLINS could have played CLEOPATRA to the hilt
and saved the studio from going down the drain, with all the expenses and hold-ups on making the film that was the fall of 20th Century Fox..as it had been
My first job, in Hollywood, was working at the Pantages Theater, where CLEOPATRA was being shown.
That theater had to take out a 3 year lease on the film, in order to get it. I began working there shortly before the beginning of the second year of its run...and you were lucky to get 10 to 15 people per day in for the afternoon showing. This was when you had big roadshow engagements and you paid to sit in a certain seat, like you do in stage theater. They
were loosing their shirts on this film and for the last half year of the run, FOX must have let them out of the rest of the contract, because we stopped playing CLEOPATRA and brought in a bunch of RE-RUNS and a couple of new films from WARNER BROS. since the next big roadshow to play there was Warner Bros
I remember the two NEW WB's films that they put in were YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE, starring JAMES FRANCICUS and
SUZANNE PLESHETTE. Both stars were there..to see their film that had been 'shelved' by WB for over two years. Suzanne said she was surprised to finally be able to see a movie she had made over two years ago and figured the public would never see it at all.
Franciscus came to see it with his wife and of all people..GLORIA SWANSON. They sat in the closed balcony and James came downstairs, during the middle of the film, holding a dead mouse he had killed with his shoe. (OMG)..LOL
THE OTHER NEW FILM....was with TROY DONAHUE and JOEY HEATHERTON..called MY BLOOD RUNS COLD. Troy was in almost every other day to see how ticket sales were going, because he knew his career was on the skids.
This was more of a B-flick and was made in black and white..as was YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE, when black and white was going OUT...like Troy's career was going too.
I DO REMEMBER some of the OLDER RE-RUNS that they brought in...a double feature of A SUMMER PLACE with
TROY DONAHUE and SANDRA DEE..along with THE CHAPMAN REPORT with a bunch of stars..JANE FONDA, GLYNIS JOHNS. EPHREM ZIMBALIST, JR. CLARE BLOOM and SHELLY WINTERS...and THE BRAMBLE BUSH with RICHARD BURTON,
ANGIE DICKINSON and BARBARA RUSH.
OHHH..there was one other NEW FILM that was brought in and it was the only one of any of these that did any business at all. That film was THE PAWNBROKER starring ROD STEIGER.
SOOO...I guess in the long run, Susan was right in her turning down the ever to expensieve..CLEOPATRA.
Sorry...this has been so long, but some of you might find it interesting and some insight into how Hollywood can make some pretty DUMB mistakes!
Yes, I'd heard that Susan didn't like the sex and violence in films when she turned down "The Graduate," although the sex in that film seems pretty tame now, doesn't it?
I had a different take on the actress Susan told the studio to use for "Cleopatra." I had read it was Liz Taylor, not Joan Collins, that Susan suggested, but who knows? I had also read that Susan thought herself too old for that part.
I also believe "The Three Faces of Eve" could have been a great move for Susan. I think by that point she had the depth to do the role justice, although Joanne Woodward certainly was excellent in it. It's just that she wasn't the star that Susan was, and putting Susan in the role would no doubt have helped the movie receipts, and would no doubt have given Susan another opportunity for an Oscar.
Your remembrances about the Pantages Theater were very interesting, Errol. Thanks for sharing them.