Roles turned down by Kirk Douglas:
Kirk Douglas wanted the role of Ben Hur, but it was given to Charlton Heston. Douglas was offered the role of Mesala, but he turned it down. Stephen Boyd took it instead.
Actor who got the part: Charlton Heston
Douglas turned down the Kid Shelleen role in Cat Ballou.
Actor who got the part: Lee Marvin
Kirk Douglas was considered for the role of Grandpa Joe.
Actor who got the part: David Kelly
Douglas was cast as Colonel Samuel Trautman but dropped out because the script was not true to the novel.
Actor who got the part: Richard Crenna
Kirk Douglas was considered for the role of Mr. Braddock.
Actor who got the part: William Daniels
Kirk Douglas reportedly wanted the part of Mike Laszlo.
Actor who got the part: Armin Mueller-Stahl
After starring in the 1963 Broadway version, Kirk Douglas bought the film rights but no studio would make the film. He later passed the film rights to his son Michael Douglas.
Actor who got the part: Jack Nicholson
Kirk Douglas was first choice to play the duel role of Tony Wilson/Arthur Hamilton. But he would only do it if he could produce the film and director John Frankanheimer was already doing that, so Rock Hudson accepted the role.
Actor who got the part: Rock Hudson
In the powerful political thriller, Kirk Douglas had signed to play "Gen. James Mattoon Scott," but thought Burt Lancaster would be better in the role. Douglas instead took the role of "Col. Martin "Jiggs" Casey" when Lancaster signed on.
Actor who got the part: Burt Lancaster
The major star bought the rights to the book in the 'Seventies and hoped to change his image by playing the sad, haunted father of Ray Bradbury's famous novel.
Actor who got the part: Jason Robards
Douglas turned down the part of Sgt. J.J. Sefton in Stalag 17.
Actor who got the part: William Holden
Did you know that Kirk Douglas was not the only choice for these movies? (click to learn more)