The Women Who Could Have Been Scarlett O'Hara
In 1936, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind was the talk of the country and everyone had someone in mind for the starring roles. Most concluded that Clark Gable was born to play the male lead, Rhett Butler. The pick for the leading female role, however, became the talk of the film world and would last for over two years.
Silent Screen Star Mary Pickford suggested Margaret Sullavan for the role of Scarlett O'Hara. Miss Sullavan would not test for the role, however.
Louise Platt would be the first to be tested on September 28, 1936.
Talullah Bankhead was the frontrunner of major stars at the time.
Susan Hayward tested under her real name, Edythe Marrenner.
Paulette Goddard was eventually the frontrunner and tested seven times, more than anyone else. As a matter of fact, she tested the last time on the same day that Viviene Leigh first tested...December 21, 1938. Leigh tested again the next day and was given the part. Paulette was married to Charles Chaplin at the time who carried a lot of weight in Hollywood. Mrs. Chaplin would have been my pick if unaware of Miss Leigh at the time.
Anita Louise would be tested four times.
Frances Dee was considered one of the most beautiful women in motion pictures. After testing for the role of Scarlett, Selznick considered her for the part of Melanie, but, decided that her beauty would overshadow newcomer Vivien Leigh. She was married to my personal favorite actor, Joel McCrea for 57 years until his death.
Lana Turner who I met personally would test in the latter part of the search.
Jean Arthur tested in the last month of testing. She was one of the final four choices.
Joan Bennett tested the day before Paulette Goddard and Viviene Leigh. Joan was also in the final four along with Goddard and Arthur.
Vivien Leigh tested on December 21st and again on December 22, 1938 and captured the heart of producer David O. Selznick.
Let me hear from you. Who would you have chosen? Mostly, those of you that grew up in the 40's and 50's that were familiar with all the above let me have your vote.
Let's all go to the movies!