- Vivien Leigh, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
- Leslie Brooks, Cover Girl, 1944.
Columbia czar Harry Cohn directed the test himself. After nine minutes, he yelled, “Jesus Christ, I said ‘Cut!’ so why the hell are you still acting.” “I’m not interested in your technical problems,” said Shelley. “I have to finish my scene, don’t I?” Cohn: “I think I’ve found a way to get even with [director] Frank Capra...!” Next: “Hey kid, if you get a contract... “You’re gonna hafta take off some weight.” Winters, at 105 lbs: “From where? My elbows.” And Nutsy, as Cohn called her, was in. Under contract. Except she never showed. Too busy tending her pilot husband until he was shipped out to war. The Most Hated Man In Hollywood (“for me, always a mensch”) buckeld under to Shell. Not for the last time.
- Rhonda Fleming, Little Egypt (UK: Chicago Masquerade), 1951. Universal refused to loan her for He Ran All The Way and she retaliated by putting on so much weight she could not play the belly dancer hit of the 1893 World's Fair. With that role re-cast, Shelley dieted and reported to what proved to be John Garfield's final film.
- Lizbeth Scott, The Racket, 1951. Shelley was announced as Robert Mitchum’s co-star in January - but she was there when shooting started a month later.
- Donna Reed, From Here To Eternity, 1952.
- Jean Peters, Pickup On South Street, 1952. Ava, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Shelley Winters... Maverick auteur - and “tabloid philosopher”! - Samuel Fuller, who invariably spoke in CAPITALS, was offered a jolie brochette to choose his Candy from. And Shelley was: “NOT SEXY ENOUGH to be a hooker, NOT SMART ENOUGH to be a housewife.”
- June Allyson, Battle Circus, 1953. Pregnant. With her Italian actor husband Vittorio Gassman’s Vittoria Gassman.
- Gloria Grahame, The Glass Wall, 1953. This US debut of her guy, Vittorio Gassman, was arranged by her friends. “There was a small part for a girl in it,” she recalled. “But, of course, Universal wouldn’t let me do it.” By the time they did film together, Mambo, 1954, neither it or their friends could save their marriage.
- Jane Withers, Giant, 1955.
- Joan Collins, The Wayward Bus, 1956. “A very interesting script,” thought Shelley - but she passed in favour of another Fox offer...
- Lee Remick, The Long, Hot Summer, 1957. And this one was to be opposite her (second Italian) husband, Anthony Franciosa. Until director Martin Ritt preferred the younger Remick. Shelley hid her disappointment and joined Tony on the New Orleans location.
- Shirley MacLaine, Some Came Running, 1958. “Frank [Sinatra] couldn’t get Shelley, saw me on TV - and gave the whole ending to me.” He offered $75,000 and Hal Wallis said half would do. She got her $10,600 contract salary. And an Oscar nod.
- Kim Stanley, Seance on A Wet Afternoon, 1963. The UK writer-director Bryan Forbes had known his first choice for years. However, Shelley had (an Emmy award-winning) TV job and recommended Kim - repaying her for help during The Balcony. “I doubt whether I would have been as memorable as Kim... Well, I would have been different.”
- Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967. On producer Lawrence Turman’s handwritten wish list of a dozen stars (Ingrid, Ava to Lana, Jeanne) for Mrs Robinson. Mike Nichols only wanted Annie - the sole star in the film. She greatly resembled his ex-comedy partner, Elaine May.
- Carroll Baker, Bad, 1977. Refused. But why? Playing a woman running an assassination squad (of women) for Andy Warhol seemed perfect for Bloody Mama, 1970.
- Ava Gardner, Regina, Italy, 1982. When due for locations in Louisiana. Ava shot it all in Rome.
- Ruth Nelson, Awakenings, 1990.
Robert De Niro suggested Shelley play his mother again - as in Bloody Mama, 20 years before. She arrived for her appointment with the casting director with . She pulled an Oscar out of her satchel and placed it on the desk. Pause. She pulled out a second Oscar. “Some people think I can act. Do you still want me to read for this part?” “No, Miss Winters.” Once she got a whiff of power, she then demanded too much.
- Viveca Lindfors, The Linguini Incident, 1991. Fired by director Richard Shepard for showing up sloshed on her first day of shooting..
- Lainie Kazan, Lust in the Dust, 1985. As Tab Hunter’s long simmering Western send-up began to take off, he wanted Shirley to the sister of drag queen Divine (Harris Glenn Milstead). Next stops: Shelley... and Chita Rivera.