Ethel Merman


Whenever I think of Gypsy, I think of Ethel Merman and nobody else. Gypsy was Ethel Merman's show.

Why in the world was she not cast in the movie? And Rosalind Russell? Could they have possibly come up with someone worse for the role?

I wish they had made the film with the two Broadway originals, Ethel Merman and Jack Klugman. Why didn't they? Whose brilliant idea was it to cast someone other than Ethel Merman?

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Merman was not a movie box-office draw, and it was not felt she would draw ticket-buyers in small-town America. Warner Bros. used the same judgment for casting Audrey Hepburn in MY FAIR LADY and Lucille Ball in MAME - all three are casting decisions over which fans of the shows are still shaking their heads in wonder. But these were business decisions made by businessmen.

Because the show was written for Merman, her formidable musical shadow has cast itself over every subsequent production - seldom has a major production, no matter how well-received, been reviewed without mentioning Merman's name in connection with the show and the part of Rose.

In my case, self-absorption is completely justified.

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The ONLY WORSE decision was to NOT cast Zero Mostel in Fiddler.I found Rosalind. Russell just annoying and obnoxious.. Ethel Merman.should.have been cast The motion picture public was robbed in both cases, with Topol and Russell. I just wish I could have seen Tyne. Daly's.performance.as Mama Rose.

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Think anyone in that role would be obnoxious and annoying. Not a likeable role at all

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I'm glad they didn't cast her .. she's all lungs .. too big for life .. and I believe Russell was wrong too ... way too big for real life .

"A man that wouldn't cheat for a poke don't want one bad enough".



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They already had Natalie Wood as box office insurance, so I don't see the need for casting Russell as Mama Rose. Wood was also hired for West Side Story because of her star power, as the rest of the cast weren't big names at all. She along with the property itself helped make West Side Story a gigantic hit.

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My casting-Judy Garland as Rose, Frank Sinatra as Herbie,Judy's daughters as her daughters.

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Liza Minnelli as Gypsy??
You gotta be kidding!!!
She has the sex appeal of a voodoo mask!

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I dunno don't get me wrong Ethel Merman is one of the most talented performers to come from the Broadway stage but she's was so hard to take in when it came to movies. I can't even think of the proper word for her. She is one of those performers that is larger than life, and while that might work the stage that doesn't necessarily mean it will work in a movie. You gotta remember she didn't even do the movie version of Anne Get Your Gun which was done about 10 years earlier, and that was another mega hit on Broadway. I thought Rosalind Russell did alright even if she was dubbed for a majority of the movie. I do think Judy Garland could have done wonders with the role.

Merman was not a movie box-office draw, and it was not felt she would draw ticket-buyers in small-town America. Warner Bros. used the same judgment for casting Audrey Hepburn in MY FAIR LADY and Lucille Ball in MAME - all three are casting decisions over which fans of the shows are still shaking their heads in wonder. But these were business decisions made by businessmen.


Funny you mention that Harold Robbins, I was thinking about this other day. Warner Brothers knew how to pick great musical stage properties for movie versions but when it came to casting that was a different story. The only time they probably got it right was with The Music Man with Robert Preston during that era.

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They got it right with Robert Preston because they retained him from Broadway.

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