Payday Loans
Gregory Peck (1916-2003)


  1. Fred McMurray, Double Indemnity, 1943.     Director Billy Wilder's first thoughts for the murdering adulterer Walter  Neff:  Peck,   James Cagney, Brian Donlevy, Alan Ladd, Fredric March, George Raft. Spencer Tracy.  They all fled.  
  2. George Brent, Experiment Perilous, 1943.      As  French directors changed from Leonide Moguy to Jacques Tourneur, the principal couple were switchbacked (and forth) from Cary (or  Gregory Peck)  and Laraine Day or Maureen O’Hara to, finally,   Brent and Hedy Lamarr. Blame Hippocrates for the terrible title: “Life is short, art is long, decision difficult, and experiment perilous."
  3. John Garfield, The Always Rings Twice, 1945.      WTF?! Peck, Mr Cardboard himself, as the tough drifter lover of Lana Turner… and knocking off her husband. That could never have worked! For proof of Peck and Garfield as polar opposites, check them out co-starring in Gentlemen’s Agreement, 1946.
  4. Vincent Price, Dragonwyck, 1945.   At Fox, Peck was first choice for Nicholas Van Ryan until hearing Ernst Lubitsch was too ill to direct.. Second choice, Laird Cregar, died from a heart attack. Price then lost 30 lbs for the role - an odd move given Cregar’s girth.
  5. Van Johnson, The Romance of Rosy Ridge, 1946.    Both Peck and James Stewart avoided this hokum. Therefore, the romance is of Johnson and a debuting Janet Leigh. She was just great, the story plain silly. Travellin’ Van brings peace to the post-war Unionists and Confederates in the Missouri hills with his songs, harmonica, banjo and a punch or two. Leigh, aka Jeanette Helen Morrison, had been discovered by MGM’s First Lady, Norma Sheater, and named by Johnson.
  6. Van Heflin, Green Dolphin Street, 1946.    The game plan in May 1945 was Peck and Laraine Day for the turgid romance, set in New Zealand, amid earthquakes and Maori uprisings.
  7. Rex Harrison, The Foxes of Harrow, 1946.    Naturally if you can’t get  get  Peck (at 30), you sign up Harrision  (at 38). The made as much nonsense of the Stephen the hero as the movie did of of black author Frank Yerby’s book. He said of any film version:  "I won't stand to see any of the coloured characters debased. I painted them as they were -human beings with human qualities - and… they must remain that way." So Fox simply cut ‘em all out - including Dorothy Dandridge, originally set for the quadroon Desiree.
  8. James Stewart, Rope, 1947.     Peck had made  Spellbound, 1945, and  Paradine Case, 1947, but Alfred Hitchcock had no more use for him in the director’s  first colour movie.  Thankfully.    This was the first of Stewart’s four Hitch films – ruined by The Master showing off with 10-miutes takes, which proved to be stilted and boring.  (Rather like Peck).
  9. Joseph  Cotton, Portrait of Jennie, 1948.     Producer David  Selznick surveyed the co-star possibilities for Jennifer Jones. Peck (too busy at Fox) came in ahead of Cotton and Laurence Olivier.
  10. Cesar Romero, The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend, 1948.    Queen of the Fox lot or not - and Marilyn was about to take over - Betty Grable could never get her way.  She wanted Peck. She got Romero.  And, according to chief censor Joseph Breen, “entirely too much dialogue and action which concerns itself-in a quite blunt and pointed way-with sex.” Nonsense.  This was Grable, not Mae West!

  11. James Stewart,  The Stratton Story, 1949.    Brave story of amputee baseball star Monty Stratton. Surprisingly, the lightweight Van Johnson was also considered before Monty, himself, chose Jim.
  12. Robert Taylor, Quo Vadis, 1950.       Took Hollywood 26 years to film Henryk Sienkiewicz’s 1895 epic novel about ancient Rome. MGM won the rights in 1925, planned to shoot in 1935. Or ’42 or ’43.  John Huston was due to direct the MGM re-make in July 1949, with Peck,  Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Ustinov, Walter Huston.  As sets went up in May, Peck suffered an eye-infection and shooting was postponed.  Walter went home and made his son's Asphalt Jungle, instead.  John got back to Peck for Moby Dick, 1956. William Wyler made the  Roman epic  with Taylor, MGM’s longest serving contract player… and Sophia Loren (and her mum) among the extras. Oh yes they were.
  13. Tyrone Power, I’ll Never Forget You (aka The House in the Square), 1950.      Five years earlier, Peck had been top choice for the 20th Century atomic research physicist obsessed so much with the 18th  that he manages to be transmigrated back there… only to find that the 1784 was not all it was  cracked up to be.  Peck and Maureen O’Hara also transmigrated - into  Power and Ann Blyth.
  14. Henry Wilcoxon, The Greatest Show on Earth, 1951.     Three years before CB De Mille made his old dream of a circus film (and inspired a six-year-old Phoenix kid named Spielberg to make movies),  the Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick planned risking $6m on a big top number named after the slogan of the Ringling Bros circus. The DOS line-up would have featured Peck, Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones, Louis Jourdan, Dorothy McGuire, Robert Mitchum, Shirley Temple and Alida Valli.  Obviously the DeMille  epic had a different script, but it’s safe to surmise  that the characters would have been much the same… trapeze stars, lion-tamer, elephant girl, circus boss.
  15. Dale Robertson, The Outcasts of Poker Flat, 1951.   The Hollywood Reporter daily - not always as on the mark as Variety - announced Peck as the gambler Oakhurst in Bret Harte's tale of six outsiders taking refuge in an old cabin. For Tarantino, in 2015, it was eight - The Hateful 8.

  16. Gary Cooper, High Noon, 1952.    
    "I'd just made The Gunfighter and along came High Noon  a few weeks later,"  is how Peck explained it to me in London.  "The loner, the town that's frightened  of the violence he might bring about, so it's him against the town.  "Well," I said,  “I’ve just done that...    If I do it again, they'll say I'm imitating myself, trying to get cast as the classic Western gunman."  So I passed...  and it got seven nominations and four Oscars including one for Gary Cooper.  But that happens." Marlon Brando. Montgomery Clift, Charlton Heston, John Wayne  also refused to be Will Kane.   Kirk Douglas nearly played him  with Lola Albright as the missus.  Cooper was keener.  He even cut his fee to wear the tin star - and win the Oscar on March 19, 1953.  And a life-long friendship with the blacklisted Forman, who fled to London and…  The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Key, The Guns of Navarone, The Victors, Mackenna’s Gold, Young Winston.

  17. Richard Burton, The Robe, 1952.      Five toppermost stars were discussed for the centurion hero, Marcellus Gallio… totally regardless of age. From Spencer Tracy at 52 and     Gary Cooper, 51 to Laurence Olivier, 45. A fair trade in the end. The cardboard Peck, 26, for the hammy Burton, 25… and the birth of CinemaScope (When Peck had eye trouble in 1950, Taylor took over the other big toga epic, Quo Vadis).

  18. Gene Evans, Park Row, 1952.   Tough guy auteur Samuel Fuller Fuller financed his cut-price Citizen Kane - and lost the whole shebang: $200,000.  The Press loved the newspaper story, but Darryl Zanuck was right. To win the the public Sam needed stars,. For example, Peck as the  honest-joe  editor and  Susan Hayward as his ex-boss,  the tabloid queen, Or Peck and Ava Gardner(!).
  19. Charlton Heston, The President’s Lady, 1952.     Every American recognises Andrew Jackson, the seventh US president (1829-1837). His face is on every $20 banknote. Few know about The Jackson Scandal… living as man and wife with Rachel Donelson without realising that her divorce was never finalised. He was called a wife-stealer, his wife much else and he fought back - as if he was not busy enough working his way to White House.   Irving Stone’s novel as bought by Fox when still in galley proofs - for De Havilland and Gregory Peck. They became Hayward and Charlton Heston… who made the rôle his own, portraying Jackson again in The Buccaneer, 1957.
  20. James Stewart, The Glenn Miller Story, 1953.  One year earlier, Peck and Tyrone Power topped Universal’s list for the bandleader - whose plane went missing after one of his WWII  troop concert tours in Europe. Power went on to play a different bandleader (piano, not trombone) in The Eddy Duchin Story, 1955.

  21. James Mason, A Star Is Born, 1953.
  22. James Mason, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, 1953.    Instead of Captain Nemo, Peck later played Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, 1956.
  23. Van Johnson, The Last Time I Saw Paris, 1953.  Cary Grant  and Shirley Temple as father and daughter…!   That was producer Lester Cowan’s   plan in the 40s for F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1931 semi-autobiographical short story (and script), Babylon Revisted, set at the end of WWi , now re-drawn for VE Day ending WWII.  After some thought about Gregory Peck, Van Johnson finally fathered the overly cutesy Sandra Descher. Elizabeth Taylor was Mom. She said MGM changed he original title to avoid the public thinking it was a Bible  story. (The  Epstein twins, the Casablanca writers, were also due to direct  before Philip  died in February 1952).
  24. Clark Gable, Betrayed, 1953.     On the wish-list (with Kirk Douglas ) for Dutch Intelligence officer Colonel Pieter Deventer. But so was Gable. And this became his final MGMovie.   He’d made a helluva lot of money for Metro since he started there as a Merry Widow extra in 1930. Now he’d freelance for his final six years. For a heftier slice of the action.
  25. Van Johnson, The End of the Affair, 1954.  The end was just the beginning… Peck and Jean Simmons became Van Johnson (why not Sonny Tiufts?!!) and Deborah Kerr. She just about survived Johnson being totally out of his depth. Graham Greene’s tale was better treated by Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore in 1999.
  26. Rock Hudson, Giant, 1955.
  27. John Wayne, Blood Alley, 1955.   Robert Mitchum was fired by William Wellman, director of his first big hit, The Story of GI Joe, 1945. “He’s my favourite actor,” said Wild Bill. “He was on dope, always walking about six inches off the ground. He punched... one of the drivers, knocked him into the bay, goddam nearly killed him.” Peck, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden were unavailable, Kirk Douglas was working. Burt Lancaster was “no dice” and Fred MacMurray “not big enough.” And so producer John Wayne sang the old song. “Aw, shucks, suppose I’ll have to do it.” Mitchum said only Louella Parsons told the true story. “And they killed her column. The transportation boss weighed 300 lbs. I was supposed to have picked him up and thrown him in the bay. No way.” The truth? “I think Duke Wayne was renegotiating his Warners contract... They agreed, provided he did one more film on his old contract. ‘Wal, we got that picture up at San Raphael.’ Duke [on his honeymoon] said: ‘No, Mitchum’s doing that.’ ‘Was!’ That was the end of that.”
  28. Humphrey Bogart, The Left Hand of God, 1955. When director Howard Hawks was attached, he thought of Peck, John Wayne and, mainly, Kirk Douglas. Edward Dmytryk only ever thought of Bogie.
  29. Colonel Tim McCoy, Around The World In 80 Days, 1955.     Peck gets fired!  “He wasn't taking the role seriously enough.” Producer Mike Todd dumped Peck as  the US Cavalry colonel  at Fort Kearney.  The real Colonel was far from the real McCoy!  Stars who did  accept cameos included Charles Boyer, Joe E Brown, Martine Carol, Ronald Colman, Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich, Fernandel,  John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, Buster Keaton, Evelyn Keyes, Peter Lorre, Victor McLaglen, John Mills, George Raft, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton.
  30. Van Johnson, The End of the Affair, 1955.  Turned  down by Peck, director Edward Dmytryk  then made the casting  error of his career and ruined  the Graham Greene story with  the empty vessel called Johnson.

  31. Kirk Douglas, Ulisse/Ulysses, Italy, 1955.     Undecided about a comeback, Greta Garbo rejected German director GW Pabst’s version of The Odyssey with Peck as Ulysses. Italian director  Mario Camerini picked up the pieces with Kirk and Silvana Mangano.
  32. Robert Taylor, The Last Hunt, 1955.     Peck agreed to hunt with Montgomery Clift.  MGM preferred the cheaper contract staff from All The Brothers Were Valiant, 1953: Taylor and Stewart Granger.
  33. Robert Ryan, The Proud Ones, 1955.Apart from using CinemaScope, Fox had little idea what to do with Cass Silver, a US Marshal who hires the son of a  “no-good gun slinger” he gunned down as an assistant.  First off, Gregory Peck was to be  Cass - at age  39. Other choices included Cooper,  at 54; Victor Mature, 47; and Ryan,  46.  Much the same for the kid, with two Roberts, Stack and Wagner – at 34 and 25! 
  34. James Cagney, Tribute To A Bad Man, 1955.      “It’s the end of my career. I’ll never make another picture.” Spencer Tracy quickly lost interest and his health in the high altitude  of Colorado. And just as no one had  agreed to be The Girl (they finished with the Greek Irene Papas), no guy wanted to sub Spence.  As if they could.  Peck and Clark Gable refused; Cagney agreed. He was a friend and huge fan... “I’m easy to imitate, but you never saw anyone imitate Spence Tracy.  You can’t mimic reserve and control.”
  35. Henry Fonda, War and Peace, 1956.      Producer Dino De Laurentiis insisted on ruining it all with an all-American Pierre.
  36. Humphrey Bogart, The Left Hand of God, 1955.     Iconic director Howard Hawks considered  Peck, Wayne and, mainly, Kirk Douglas.

  37. Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory, 1957.
    “Stanley,” rasped Kirk, “I don’t think this picture will ever make a nickel…  But we have to make it.”   And then, he couldn’t...   Stanley Kubrick agreed on  Peck for the anti-war classic.  But he  was booked for 18 months - during which time, Douglas became free again...  a happenstance  leading,of course, to Spartacus, 1960.

  38. Tony Curtis, The Defiant Ones, 1957.      About the two escaped  chained convicts,  Billy Wilder said:  Brando wanted to play the black convict, Mitchum would refuse to be in any film “with a nigger” and Kirk Douglas wanted both roles… Disappointed with The Wild One, Brando never worked for Stanley Kramer again. Peck, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster,  Anthony Quinn  and Frank Sinatra all refused to co-star with Sidney Poitier.  So much for liberal Hollywood…
  39. Anthony Franciosa, La maja desnuda (The Naked Maja) Italy, 1958.    Failing  to locate a credible Goya, the Rome producers became  desperate enough to think of Peck!
  40. John Wayne, Rio Bravo, 1958.

  41. Fred MacMurray, The Shaggy Dog, 1958.     If MacMurray refused this possible life-saver, Peck was Walt Disney’s second choice for the father of the kid who keeps turning into a Bratislavian sheepdog. (You hadda be there!). The studio’s biggest hit (up to then) saved the McCareer and he was quickly into The Absent-Minded Professor 1961, and Son of Flubber, 1963, etc. And, of course,  headlining the Disney series, My Three Sons - bringing his own luncheon sandwiches to the studio over the next 12 years, 1960-1972!
  42. James Stewart, Anatomy of a Murder, 1958.  When producer Ray Stark attempted to film the controversial court-room thriller bt Robert Traver (actuallly, Judge John D. Voelker), Peck topped the list for the wily, folksy defence attorney Paul Biegler.   Otto Preminger chose Stewart. Never mind, another day, another lawyer, another controversial trial with Peck for the  defence, winning his Oscar as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, 1962.
  43. Robert Mitchum, The Wonderful Country, 1959.    Good Western but hey, he'd just wed the French reporter who'd come to interview him.
  44. Cary Grant, North By Northwest,  1959.  Two films with Mr Cardboard was enough for Alfred Hitchcock, who fought the MGM brass  for Mr Superb – instead of William Holden or James Stewart.  Hitch then refused Grant’s plea of for Sophia Loren as his co-star. Ironically, Peck and Loren went on to make Stanley Donen’s  sub-Hitchcockian Arabesque in 1965.
  45. Yves Montand, Let's Make Love, 1960.    "The script [tweaked by Arthur Miller] was now about as funny as pushing grandma down the stairs in a wheelchair." Turning her down upset Marilyn Monroe. She loved men looking like Abraham Lincoln.  Peck played Abe on TV in 1982, years after Montand confessed that co-starring with Monroe "was a part that could have shot me down in flames for the rest of my career." Which is probably why Stephen Boyd, Yul Brynner, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, William Holden, Rock Hudson and James Stewart fled what was then  called, in their favour, The Billionaire.   
  46. John Gavin, Back Street, 1960.     For the third Hollywood take on Fannie Hurst’s notorious weepie, the married guy with Susan Hayward as a mistress was a battle between Peck, Steve Forrrest, William Holden, Peter Lawford…and “how old Cary Grant?” was just that -“too old.”  In her July 15 column, gossip queen Hedda Hopper stupidly suggested Gavin. (Hadn’t the great know-all  heard that Hitchcock called him The Stiff the year before during Psycho?). Gavin was so good he never made another film for six years despite being under contract to Universal.
  47. Robert Mitchum, Cape Fear, 1962.       For some stupid reason, Peck was first  offered the villain, Max Cady.
  48. Frank Sinatra, How The West Was Won, 1962.      When The Voice could not longer fit  gambler Cleve Van Valen into his schedule, Peck agreed to take over.  Other A-Listers who  did not finally appear in  the Cineama epic included Brando, Cagney, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
  49. Tom Tryon, The Cardinal, 1963.   The sudden blip in producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger’s track record was caused by lamentable casting. Tyron, happier later as a novelist, was never the actor Otto tried to force him to be… during the rise and rise of the titular Vatican favourite, reportedly based on New York’s powerful (and Senator Joe McCarth-loving) Cardinal Spellman. Preminger tested three bores, Tyron, Bradford Dillman, Cliff Robertson; considered total opposites Hugh O’Brian, Stuart Whitman; and, according to Tyron, refused the better Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole, even the (way too old) Gregory Peck.
  50. Robert Mitchum, What A Way To Go, 1964.     For one of Shirley MacLaine's many millionaire hubbies, UK director  J Lee Thompson wanted Greg to replace Sinatra (too pricey) and then went for the obvious - Shirley's hardly secret lover.

  51. David  Niven, Bedtime Story, 1964.  Peck-Curtis  became Niven-Brando. (And Michael Caine-Steve Martin in the 1988 re-mould, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).
  52. Richard Harris, I Tre Volti/Three Faces of a Woman, Italy, 1964.     The woman was Soraya, ex-wife of the Shah of Iran. Producer Dino De Laurentiis was convinced he could make her a star and tried hard for A List co-stars in the triple-sketch project.  Harris agreed - for top billing and (like Soraya) script approval.
  53. Stuart Whitman, Rio Conchos, 1964.  As web critic Colin McGuigan pointed out, revenge is the real name of this Western  - for Richard Boone,and Whitman. And  Stu’s  been here before. Only last time it was calledComancheros.  This one, though, was directed by a livelier than usual Gordon Douglas,
  54. Peter O’Toole,  How To Steal A Million, 1966.     A full ten years earlier, the director, William Wyler, was telling Stanley  Kubrick about his plans to re-unite  his  Roman Holiday stars: Peck and Audrey Hepburn.  Only Audrey and Willie stayed the course to ’66. (But why?).
  55. Walter Chiari, They’re A Weird Mob, Australia, 1966.     Fred Astaire passed the book to Peck during On The Beach in Australia. His option was running out when veteran British director Michael Powell moved in, after persuading Peck that the hero had to be an Italian.    
  56. Richard Harris, Camelot, 1966.  Marlon Brando, Rock Hudson (with Shirley Jones as his queen), Peter O’Toole and Gregory Peck were run up the Warner Bros flagpole when Richard Burton wanted too much money to reprise his Broadway and Tony-winning King Arthur. Burton wore the crown again in a 1980 tour until his health made him quit.  And Harris succeeded him again. He then paid $1m for the stage rights, revamped and extended the tour, making a considerable fortune.    
  57. Omar Sharif, Funny Girl, 1967.   The Jewish Barbra Streisand preferred an Arab screen Rose.lover (on and off-screen) to Cary Grant. And the others short-listed for her gambling man Nick Arnstein:  Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra.  Plus three TV stars, Robert Culp, James Garner, David Janssen, that she would have chewed up and spat out. She as an expert in cutting her co-stars’ roles to ribbons.  Asked whether she’d been difficult to work with, director William Wyler said:  "No, not too hard, considering it was the first movie she ever directed"!
  58. Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
  59. Rock Hudson, Ice Station Zebra, 1968.      He was due opposite  David Niven... Guns of Navarone goes to the Arctic!
  60. Glenn Ford, Heaven with a Gun, 1968.   Peck soon nipped this 50s idea in the bud. Hey, guys, I’ve already refused High Noon, 1951, for being like my Gunfighter, 1949… Ford was an average sub in what web critic Jerry SaraviaCharles Bronson,C'era una volta il West (UK/US: Once Upon A Time in the West), Italy-USA, 1968.      Sergio Leone said he would have won a better budget from, his usual spaghetti Western backers, United Artists  - if he agreed to Chuck Heston, Peck and Kirk Douglas. Leone settled for less money, but all his own choices at a Paramount.

  61. Charles Bronson, C'era una volta il West (UK/US: Once Upon A Time in the West), Italy-USA, 1968.    Sergio Leone said he would have won a better budget from, his usual spaghetti Western backers, United Artists  - if  he agreed to Chuck Heston, Peck and Kirk Douglas. Leone settled for less money, but all his own choices at a Paramount.
  62. Jack Lord, Hawaii Five-O, TV, 1968-1980.      You want I should book him? Not a chance. Peck was still a busy A-List movie star - McKenna’s Gold, I Walk The Line,   The Omen, McArthur. Had no need of TV.  Or not until after ’89.  Jack  played Detective Steve McGarrett for all 283 episodes - good Lord!
  63. Robert Ryan, The Wild Bunch, 1968.
  64. Robert Mitchum, Ryan's Daughter, 1970.     Director David Lean's producer Anthony Havelock-Allan preferred Greg but Lean was proved right. Although  he never bargained the shooting would last 43 weeks, Robert Mitchum said: "It's a film I can talk about without  embarrassment." Not to see? "I might get cramp in my butt."
  65. Dennis Weaver, Duel, TV, 1971.    Although supposedly suspicious, even scared of Stars, Steven Spielberg sent Peck the script of his  perfectly planned  first TV movie.   Greg was not  tempted.  Was it the  story-boards?
  66. John Wayne, Rooster Cogburn, 1974.  The idea was fair - a sequel  to True Grit.  But if Wayne proved too ill, what would be the point of someone else in his titular Oscar-winning rôle? Marlon Brando topped producer Hal Wallis’ eye-patch  list of Eastwood, Richard Burton, Gene Hackman, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, George C Scott and some of Duke’s old co-stars: Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck.. Pus four of Katharine Kate’s previous co-stars - Charles Bronson, Burt Lancaster, Peter O’Toole, Anthony Quinn - and as she continued trying to pick guys she’d never worked with before… Warren Beatty, Henry Fonda, Laurence Olivier, Ryan O’Neal, Paul Scofield, Henry Winkler (!).  (McQueen turned down her Grace Quigley in 1983.)   Kate wrote that embracing Duke “was like leaning against a great tree." This was director Stuart Miller’s second feature. The “6ft 6ins sonuvabitch no-talent, ” as Duke termed him, never made a third.
  67. John Mills, The Devil's Advocate, Germany, 1976.     Maddest idea since Peck was considered for Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway,  circa 1947!
  68. Robert Shaw, Force Ten From Navarone, 1978.     Exiled US writer-director Carl Foreman's late 60s sequel plan proved impossible - until the 70s.
  69. Giancarlo Giannini, Viaggio con Anita (Travels With Anita and Lovers and Liars),  Italy-France, 1978. More than 20 years earlier, Federico Fellini considered making the Tulilo Pinello story after his Oscar-winning Le notti di Cabiria  (Njghts of Cabiria). Anita would be Cabiria, herself, his wife Giulietta Masina, and Marcello Mastroianni.  But then Fellini had a much better idea for Marcello. La Dolce Vita!.  Maestro Mario Monicelli dug up the old project and jiggled it for the Arabesque couple, Loren and Gregory Peck… although their 1965 meeting  proved Peck had no feeling for comedy at all.  . Finally, the travelers became Goldie and Giancarlo Giannini.  
  70. Rock Hudson, The Martian Chronicles, TV, 1980.     "How would you feel if you were a Martian and people came to your land and started tearing it up?" About as bad as one did watching Ray Bradbury's sf classic imploding into a turgid mini...  and maxi-yawn.  Stuck by now in TV – “illustrated radio,” he called it – Rock Hudson inherited NASA’S Colonel John Wilder  from Gregory Peck and his doomed 1964 plans (with producer  Robert Mulligan and director Alan J Pakula).  NBC delayed airing the mini-series  for a year, in the hope that everyone had forgotten Bradbury’s woeful comment that the show was…  "booooooooring!”  Certainly, Hudson seemed happier on-set when doing his embroidery.

  71. Alan Bates,  The Wicked Lady, 1983.    UK director Michael Winner wanted Peck to be Captain Jerry Jackson.  Peck simply wanted out of the “dire” scenario of the re-hash of thne 1944 original with Margaret Lockwood as a 17th Century highwaywoman.  Faye Dunaway actually gave up a Shakespeare date with Laurence Olivier for this twaddle.
  72. Cesar Romero, Falcon Crest, TV, 1985-1988.      Three other suave movie kings were also examined for the billionaire Greek shipping magnate Peter Stavros (involved with lead harridan Jane Wyman for 50 episodes): Peck, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Louis Jourdan.
  73. Charlton Heston, The Colbys, TV, 1985-1987.   And another soap calls…Peck, James Coburn and Burt Lancaster were top choices to head up the Dynasty spin-off as billionaire patriarch Jason Colby. Fortunately, they passed because before Ben-Hur turned soap star, Heston had been contemplating running for senator!
  74. Gene Hackman,  No Way Out, 1986.  For his excellent thriller (labyrinthine and ingenious, said Roger Ebert) the under-praised Aussie director Roger Donaldson tried all ages for the villain politico. From James Caan and Al Pacino at 46 to Gregory Peck at 70. Plus James Coburn, Sean Connery, James Cromwell, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Mitchum, Donald Moffat, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Jason Robards Donald Sutherland and Jon Voight.   Hackman was 56.
  75. Sean Connery, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1988.
  76. Armin Mueller-Stahl, Music Box, 1989.    Very keen  - but rejected by Costa-Gavras for the old Hungarian modelled upon scripter Joe Eszterhas’s father, who was similarly accused of war crimes after the movie.  Costa also passed on Kirk Douglas: “I turned down Spartacus!”
  77. Max von Sydow, Bis ans Ende der Welt (Until The End of the World), Germany-France-Australia, 1991. Now it was to be William Hurt’s dad! Also on  German director Wim Wenders'  list were Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark.

  78. Tommy Lee Jones,  JFK, 1991.
  79. Walter Matthau,  JFK, 1991.

  80. Martin Balsam,  Cape Fear,  1991.      Peck was keen to join the re-make even though the original flop ruined his Melville company in 1962. . Director Martin Scorsese offered the choice of a judge, an assistant DA or Robert De Niro’s  sleazy lawyer.  Balsam sat on the bench…
  81. Fred Dalton Thompson,  Cape Fear,  1991.        “I’ll take the sleazylawyer,” said Peck, fondly loved by Americans for his Oscar-winning perfect lawyer and father in To Kill A Mockingbird, 1962.   Thompson (a real life Republican senator and former lawyer during the Watergate committee hearings)  became the assistant DA while Peck  worked just  one day… on what proved to be his final movie. became the ssistant DA while Peck  worked just  one day… on what proved to be his final movie.
  82. Robert Duvall, La Peste/The Plague, France-UK-Argentina, 1992.    Luis Puenzo had a deal with his Old Gringo... until his Albert Camus adaptation was delayed and Peck retired.
  83. Liam Neeson, Ethan Frome, 1993.     Bette Davis wanted Peck (or Gary Cooper) for a Warners version in 1947 - unfortunately for her (too old for Mattie, anyway), it was  right in the middle of Warner's worst creative and financial hour. 
  84. Rip Torn, Hercules, 1996.      James Belushi, John Goodman, Patrick Stewart, were also in the frame to voice Zeus. Apart from Peck, they all went on to supply voices for other Disney characters. Twenty years earlier, Torn’s wife, actress Geraldine Page, had voiced Madame Medusa in The Rescuers at Disney.
  85. Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story, 1998. Pretentious American  auteurDavid Lynch is not so clever. He mused on Peck, John Hurt and Jack Lemmon. It was Mary Sweeney, his writer-editor-producer-lover (and mother of their then seven-year-old son, Riley)  - who thought The Old Grey Foxwas best... to drive a motor-mower from Laurens, Iowa, to Mount Zion, Wisconsin to see his dying brother.Farnsworth, veteran stuntman turned veteran actor, was  terminally ill with metastatic prostate cancer, spreading to his bones and paralyzing his legs. He astonished the unit with his tenacity during the shoot… and, indeed, at the 1999 Cannes festival. Due to the pain of his illness, he committed suicide in 2000 at age 80.
  86. David Kelly, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004.      Peck  was very keen, said his family. But he passed before passing on Tim Burton’s offer. (Exactly the same story with Peter Ustinov). 
  87. Tom Hanks Bridge of Spies, 2014.       Over to Steven Spielberg:  “In 1964 or ’65, when it was better known and closer to the incident, Gregory Peck… asked [MGM] to finance a screenplay about the spy swap [Russia’s Rudolf Abel for USAF pilot Gary Powers]. Peck sent the script to Alec Guinness and got him to agree to play Abel. MGM decided not to go ahead and make the picture because of the tension.”







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