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Steve Forrest (1925-2013)

  1. Jeff Richards, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, 1953.  He was among the Pontipee brothers,  but not for long…  Gregory Peck discovered Seve and arranged his MGM screentest when he was working as a stagehand at the La Jolla Playhouse. Born William Forrest Andrews, he was the kid brother of  screen star Dana Andrews. They made one film together (Sealed Cargo, 1950). Steve, dead at 87, beat Dana, who died at 83, by landing 122 film roles to Dana’s 103.
  2. Steve Rowland, The Student Prince, 1954.      Change of Feuerwald… after the 1962 version collapsed due to Mario Lanza’s gigantic row with MGM. “No director tells me how to sing!” Eventually, Edmund Purdom went royal, miming to Lanza’s voice.
  3. Leslie Nielsen, Tammy and the Bachelor, 1956.     Change of bachelor.  Title was just Tammy at first. And in the hit parade where Debbie Reynolds’ title song ruled  for 23 weeks, five at #1.
  4. John Gavin, Back Street, 1960.   In the frame for Universal’s third version of Fannie Hurst’s soapy romance were Forrest, William Holden, Peter Lawford – and how-old-Cary-Grant was told he was too old. Hollywood gossip hen 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 Hollywood film for six years despite being under contract to Universal.
  5. Stuart Whitman, The Comancheros, 1961.    When John Wayne replaced the ill Gary Cooper as Texas Ranger Jake Cutter, his co-star was Heston.  Not for long.  Without any regrets, Chuck , passed Paul Regret  (no longer as important as in the book) to Tom Tyron… who likewise left (for  Disney’s Moon Piilot),  leaving the role to Stuart Whitman. who would then  take the lead in what came across as a re-make, Rio Conchos, 1964.  Also having no Regrets were  James Garner, John Gavin, Cary Grant and Robert Wagner

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