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Bette Davis
 Roles turned down by Bette Davis:

4 for Texas
Bette had to bow out of a cameo role in the film as she had accepted a starring role in "Dead Ringer" and conflicting dates made it impossible for her to appear in both films.
Actor who got the part: Marjorie Bennett

The African Queen
Top choice for the role of the prim missionary "Rose Sayer" when the film was to first to be made in 1938. When the project didn't come together until 1949, Davis was again offered the role but couldn't accept due to pregnancy.
Actor who got the part: Katharine Hepburn

Anna and The King of Siam
Twentieth-Century Fox attempted to borrow Bette Davis in 1946 to appear in Anna and the King of Siam; however, Bette's home studio, Warner Bros., said no.
Actor who got the part: Irene Dunne

Anthony Adverse
Davis covetted the part of Angela Guiseppe but it went to the more age appropriate Olivia de Havilland.
Actor who got the part: Olivia De Havilland

The Bad Seed
Davis had expressed interest in playing Christine Penmark, the mother who suspects that her perfect little daughter is a ruthless killer, but director Mervyn LeRoy insisted on casting Nancy Kelly who had originated the role on stage.
Actor who got the part: Nancy Kelly

Caged
Caged was originally planned to co-star Bette Davis and Joan Crawford when they were both under contract at Warner Bros.
Actor who got the part: Agnes Moorehead

Come Back, Little Sheba
Bette Davis turned down the role of Lola Delaney, later said it was "one of the really great mistakes of my career."
Actor who got the part: Shirley Booth

Comet Over Broadway
Bette Davis refused the role of ambitious actress Eve Appleton in this Busby Berkeley directed drama.
Actor who got the part: Kay Francis

Cool Hand Luke
Had first refusal on playing the mother of the title character, but thought the role was too small.
Actor who got the part: Jo Van Fleet

Dracula (1931)
Under contract to Universal at the time, she was considered for the role of "Mina Harker" but the studio president was unconvinced of her sex appeal.
Actor who got the part: Helen Chandler

Driving Miss Daisy
Davis campaigned for the Daisy role.
Actor who got the part: Jessica Tandy

Frankenstein
Davis almost was cast as Elizabeth in the movie, but Director James Whale was more impressed with Mae Clarke and chose her instead
Actor who got the part: Mae Clarke

Garden of The Moon
Bette Davis refused to play secretary Toni Blake in this Busby Berkeley musical.
Actor who got the part: Margaret Lindsay

The Gay Sisters
This property was originally purchased as a vehicle for Bette Davis.
Actor who got the part: Barbara Stanwyck

The Glass Menagerie
The director offered the part of Amanda Wingfield to Bette Davis who accepted the role. But as Miss Davis went out of her contract with Warner Bros., the head of the studio, Jack Warner, who also was the produecer of Glass Menagerie vetoed Davis.
Actor who got the part: Gertrude Lawrence

God's Country and the Woman
Her refusal to act in this Warner Brothers movie catapulted Bette Davis into (for its time) the most publicized legal battle between a star and a studio. Davis lost the case but wasn't required to do the movie.
Actor who got the part: Beverly Roberts

Gone with the Wind
Bette Davis was considered to play Scarlett O'Hara but Warners would not allow it.
Actor who got the part: Vivien Leigh

It Happened One Night
Bette Davis wanted to appear in It Happened One Night but her studio Warner Bros wouldn't release her to go to Columbia Pictures to make it.
Actor who got the part: Claudette Colbert

The Killing of Sister George
Davis wanted to play the lesbian soap opera star until she saw Beryl Reid in the play. She realized that Reid's performance could not be improved.
Actor who got the part: Beryl Reid

Kings Row
Bette Davis wanted to play the sexually abused Cassandra Tower in this film but Jack Warner refused because her price would have blown the budget.
Actor who got the part: Betty Field

Life with Father
Davis screen tested for the role of Vinnie Day but was rejected in favor of Irene Dunne, who had the necessary comic lightness for the part.
Actor who got the part: Irene Dunne

Lillies of The Field
Director Ralph Nelson tried to convince the movie's distributor, United Artists, into casting Bette as the Mother Superior, but the film's low budget could not afford her.
Actor who got the part: Lilia Skala

The Little Foxes
Davis reportedly walked off the set then later withdrew from the film because of disagreements with director William Wyler, but eventually returned to finish it. This ended their 3 film collaboration.
Actor who got the part: Bette Davis

A Little Night Music
The great Davis was announced for the film version of the witty, sophisticated Stephen Sondheim musical based upon director Ingmar Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer Night."
Actor who got the part: Hermione Gingold

Mame
Actively pursued the role of witty, biting "Vera Charles," but lost it to the star who had done it on Broadway and who was married to the film's director.
Actor who got the part: Bea Arthur

Mary of Scotland
Bette was dying to play Queen Elizabeth I opposite Katharine Hepburn's Mary but there are three versions of why she didn't get the role: 1. Director John Ford vetoed her; 2. Warner Brothers refused to lend her out to RKO, maker of "Mary;" 3. Co-star Fredric March insisted on his wife, Florence Eldridge playing the part (which she did).
Actor who got the part: Florence Eldridge

Mary Poppins
Walt Disney had Davis in mind first to play the vinegary, stern nanny.
Actor who got the part: Julie Andrews

Mildred Pierce
Turned down the role of the woman who loses her husband, gains respect as a successful businesswoman but is rejected by her pretentious, selfish young daughter.
Actor who got the part: Joan Crawford

The Night of the Iguana
Bette Davis wanted the role of Maxine Faulk which she played in the stage version.
Actor who got the part: Ava Gardner

Opening Night
Cassavetes had originally planned to cast Bette Davis opposite Gena Rowlands.
Actor who got the part: Joan Blondell

Possessed
Turned down the role of the troubled woman found walking the streets uttering the name "David." Davis went on maternity leave.
Actor who got the part: Joan Crawford

Roughly Speaking
Davis turned down the role of a woman in the 1920s determined to make a success in a man's world.
Actor who got the part: Rosalind Russell

Saratoga Trunk
Warner Bros had originally purchased the rights to the Edna Ferber novel as a vehicle for Bette Davis.
Actor who got the part: Ingrid Bergman

Ship of Fools
Bette Davis turned down the part of the lonely aging divorcee Mary Treadwell in this Stanley Kramer drama.
Actor who got the part: Vivien Leigh

A Streetcar Named Desire
In 1949 Paramount hoped to star Bette Davis as Blanche DuBois in this film to be directed by William Wyler.
Actor who got the part: Vivien Leigh

'Til We Meet Again
Davis was to be cast in this movie, but it was felt to be too close a plot (dying young heiress) to her recent movie Dark Victory.
Actor who got the part: Merle Oberon

Toys in The Attic
Considered for the role of Carrie Berniers.
Actor who got the part: Geraldine Page

The Unforgiven (1960)
When Bette was offered a part in the John Huston Western, she commented "They wanted me to come to Hollywood and play Burt Lancaster's MOTHER! I turned it down!"
Actor who got the part: Lillian Gish

Valley of the Dolls
When Judy Garland was let go in the role of tyrannical, insecure Broadway legend "Helen Lawson," Davis was among the stars considered to replace her.
Actor who got the part: Susan Hayward

Watch on the Rhine
Bette was busy with Now Voyager when this film was first planned. But after Margaret Sullavan and Irene Dunne turned it down, and then screenwriter Dashiell Hammett's broken back caused delays, Bette became free to take the secondary role of Sara.
Actor who got the part: Bette Davis

Whitewater
In 1977 it was announced that Bette and Katharine Hepburn would co-star in Whitewater, about two spirited women in a small Texas town in the 1940's. Davis had long wanted to work with Hepburn, but the film was never made.
Actor who got the part: Film Not Made

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Bette Davis was also considered for the lead role of Martha.
Actor who got the part: Elizabeth Taylor

The Woman in Question
Kent was told by director Anthony Asquith that he had tried to get Davis for the role.
Actor who got the part: Jean Kent

Wuthering Heights (1939)
William Wyler was keen to work with Davis again following the success of 'Jezebel.' Goldwyn vetoed the idea and suggested the more Warner friendly Merle Oberon instead.
Actor who got the part: Merle Oberon

Zorba the Greek
Proposed by studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck to play "Madame Hortence" when Simone Signoret was let go after filming began.
Actor who got the part: Lila Kedrova






Did you know that Bette Davis was not the only choice for these movies? (click to learn more)
» 20,000 Years in Sing Sing
» All About Eve
» All This, and Heaven Too
» All This and Heaven Too
» The Anniversary
» Beyond the Forest
» Dark Victory
» Dead Ringer
» Deception
» It's Love I'm After
» Jezebel
» The Little Foxes
» Mr. Skeffington
» The Nanny
» Now, Voyager
» Of Human Bondage (1934)
» Old Acquaintance
» A Pocketful of Miracles
» Pocketful of Miracles
» The Sisters
» The Star
» Storm Center
» Watch on the Rhine
» What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?






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