Star Wars: Farrah Fawcett and 9 Other Princess Leia Wannabes
In 1975, Farrah Fawcett was still a relatively unknown actress in Hollywood, ten years after being voted most beautiful by her high school classmates. Although married to Six Million Dollar Man star Lee Major, the Texas-born beauty's biggest big screen role to date was a bit part in the controversial Myra Breckenridge.
However, she did have an impressive TV acting portfolio from guest starring on such TV series as The Partridge Family, I Dream of Jeannie, Mayberry R. F. D., and Marcus Welby, M.D.
Along with dozens of other Princess Leia wannabes, Fawcett wangled an audition for the important role of Princess Leia in the upcoming George Lucas Star Wars movie.
She didn't get the part. And it is a bit difficult to imagine her with Princess Leia hair buns and swinging a lightsaber.
But don't feel sorry for the toothy beauty; a year later she burst onto American TV screens as Jill Munroe, arguably the most popular of Charlie's Angels, and unlike the Princess Leia hair buns, the Farrah Fawcett hairstyle was the top request at beauty salons across the nation, and a Farrah Fawcett spray for women's hair is still being sold.
Once Charlie's Angels hit America's TV screens, the actress went on to become a living television icon and one of the most memorable sex symbols ever on American TV. And to add to her notoriety, a Farrah Fawcett poster showing the beauty in a skin-tight red bathing suit was the biggest poster-seller of its time!
When Farrah Fawcett's death was announced on June 25, 2009, ironically it was on the same day when pop singer Michael Jackson died.
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Unlike many of the other actresses who auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars, British actress Jane Seymour already had a handful of big screen appearances, most notably playing the psychic Solitaire in the 1973 James Bond movie Live And Let Die.
The 23-year-old "Bond girl" had been born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg, but chose early in her career to take the stage name "Jane Seymour" after King Henry VIII's third wife. She is a heterachromiac, having one green eye and one brown eye.
Although she didn't make the cut for the Princess Leia role, success would soon follow when she starred in 1981's Somewhere in Time opposite Christopher "Superman" Reeve. Other Jane Seymour movies will later include Oh! Heavenly Dog, Lassiter, Wedding Crashers, and she would enjoy huge popularity on the TV series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
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She was born Susan Alexander Weaver, the daughter of NBC television executive Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, and the niece of comedian Doodles Weaver.
In 1963, the precocious fourteen-year-old decided to change her first name to Sigourney after a character she admired in The Great Gatsby.
She was 26 when she auditioned for the part of Princess Leia and had no acting credits to present at the time. Movie producer George Lucas was open-minded in his casting efforts, happy to audition anyone he felt was an up-and-comer.
Sigourney failed to land the part, but did manage to land a small role in 1977's Annie Hall. Two years later she shot to her own stardom in the halls of cinematic science fiction when she played Ridley, the heroine in James Cameron's 1986 cult film classic Alien, a part she'd play in three more sequels.
The actress also got critical acclaim for Gorillas in the Mist, and any list of fan-favorite Sigourney Weaver movies will almost always include Ghostbusters, The Ice Storm, Working Girl, and Galaxy Quest.
Like Geena Davis and Angelica Huston, Cybill Shepherd was a model who was determined to be a movie star. The one-time girlfriend of Elvis Presley, Shepherd wanted to be a big-screen actress when George Lucas was looking for the perfect Princess Leia. In 1968 Cybill had been crowned "Model of the Year" shortly after leaving Tennessee and eventually ended up in Hollywood looking for work.
Shepherd, however, already had some impressive acting credits before her Star Wars audition, having starred in 1971's The Last Picture Show, and The Heartbreak Kid.
Although she was passed over for the role of Leia, Shepherd did land the part of Betsy in 1976's film classic Taxi Driver. In the early 1980s she'll team with an unknown comic named Bruce Willis and the pair will star together in the TV series Moonlighting, and a few years after that she'll star solo in Cybill.
While it's never been stated publicly, Geena Davis' 6' 0" height may have been what kept her from landing the coveted role of Princess Leia.
The tall, statuesque beauty could have looked Harrison Ford, also six feet tall straight in the eye, but playing a believable twin sister to 5' 8" tall Mark Hamill might have been a stretch. Especially when one considers the actress who actually landed the role of Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, was a mere five feet.
Davis was one of the most unknown of all the actresses who tested for the part with no serious acting experience. A one-time church organist, she was working as a model when the opportunity to audition for the Leia role presented itself.
After her 1975 audition, it would be another seven years before she landed her first big screen movie role in 1981's Tootsie.
Some of the Geena Davis movies that did well at the box office include Fletch, The Fly, Beetlejuice, Thelma and Louise, and A League of Their Own. She will also spend a year on the small screen in Commander in Chief, and surprise a lot of people when she tried out for the U.S. Olympic Archery team in 1999.
Born in 1949, Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is the most celebrated actress of her generation.
She has been nominated for 20 Academy Award Oscars and 33 Golden Globes.
However, when Star Wars movie auditions were being held in 1975, Meryl was just another struggling, unknown young woman trying to make a living as an actress and had worked as a waitress along the way to help pay the bills.
After auditioning for the role of Princess Leia, doors began to open and she starred in 1978's The Deer Hunter with Robert Di Niro and the movie brought her first Oscar nomination. The list of Meryl Streep movies would eventually include Kramer Vs. Kramer, Sophie's Choice, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Silkwood, and Out of Africa. Ironically, she would star in 1990s Postcards From the Edge, a semi-autobiographical novel about a drug-addicted actress written by Carrie Fisher.
Fisher and Streep became good friends during the filming of the movie and remained so the rest of their lives.
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Cindy Williams Original Audition -- Another Princess Leia Wannabe
Anjelica was 23-years old in 1975 when she auditioned for George Lucas's science fiction film. She was born in Santa Monica to famed director John Huston, and her grandfather was acclaimed actor Walter Huston, both of whom were Academy Award winners.
At the time of her audition, Huston had but a handful of minor acting credits, mostly small roles in her father's movies. Her one big screen appearance of any substance had been in 1969's A Walk With Love and Death.
Thus, after reading for the part of Princess Leia, Lucas apparently felt she wasn't quite what he was looking for in a princess determined to save her galaxy from an evil empire.
Huston took the rejection as part of the Hollywood "game" and ten years after reading for Star Wars, she won an Oscar for Prizzi's Honor, making her the third-generation Huston to win Hollywood's highest prize.
Today the avowed cat-lover (she has nearly a dozen), has a memorable list of film and TV movie credits with Lonesome Dove, The Dead, The Grifters, and The Addams Family.
Glenn Close was approaching 30-years-old when she tried out for the part of the young Princess Leia. Her age may have hurt her chances and it's hard to imagine her in the Princes Leia costume, particularly the metal bikini. Furthermore, she had no experience on the big screen, her only acting credits from a few stage appearances. It would be 1982 and she would be 35 before her first movie role, and that would be appearing with comedian Robin Williams in The World According to Garp.
Her second movie a year later however, would make up for lost time. After playing Sarah in 1983's The Big Chill, Close was nominated for an Academy Award. And her third movie was The Natural with Robert Redford where she played Iris, Redford's old girlfriend and mother of the son he never knew he had.
Although Close never got close to signing for the Leia role, she went on to enjoy a long and fruitful career with movie credits that include Fatal Attraction (she got the part after Debra Winger turned it down), Dangerous Liaisons, Reversal of Fortune, Mars Attacks!, 101 Dalmatians, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
She didn't yet have a movie credit under her belt, but in 1975 Jessica Lange was making the rounds in Hollywood.
Though she didn't get the Princess Leia role in Lucas' Star Wars movie, Lange beat out Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn for the female lead in 1976's King Kong, which would be her very first movie
The 5' 10" blonde beauty would then go on to enjoy a celebrated film career, and become one of only 23 actors to win the Triple Crown of Acting. A Triple Crown actor has won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony.
Some memorable Jessica Lange movies are The Postman Always Rings Twice, Tootsie (with Geena Davis), Frances, Rob Roy, All That Jazz, and Crimes of the Heart.
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Sissy Spacek was born in Texas in 1949. Her birth name is Mary Elizabeth Spacek, but the nickname "Sissy" stayed with her throughout her career. She grew up in Quitman, Texas where her high school classmates voted her Homecoming Queen.
By the time she auditioned for the Star Wars movie, she already had a few movie credits on her list, including Prime Cut and Badlands. Although she didn't get the part of Princess Leia, the actress landed the starring role in Stephen King's creepy Carrie and became an overnight success.
Clearly a talented actress, in 1980 she starred in Coal Miner's Daughter, playing country singer Loretta Lynn and singing her own songs. Her performance opposite Tommy Lee Jones won her the Best Actress Academy Award.
She went on to enjoy a long and memorable career, and her fans' list of favorite Sissy Spacek movies include The River, Raggedy Man, Missing, In The Bedroom, The Help, and Crimes of the Heart.
Sissy Spacek Singing "Coal Miner's Daughter."
Carrie Fisher -- Princess Leia
Carrie Fisher was a relatively unknown actress when she landed the part of the feisty female resistance fighter known as Princes Leia.
Her only big screen role of any substance was playing a small part in a Warren Beatty movie, Shampoo.
Director George Lucas had only been at the helm of two previous movies, THX 1138, and American Graffiti, but he had a good idea of the qualities he was looking for in a believable intergalactic princess.
After interviewing dozens on young actresses, some of whom will later go on to win Academy Award Oscars for different movies, Lucas decided to go with eighteen-year old Carrie Fisher on the condition the diminutive actress lose 10 pounds.
Fisher lost the weight... and gained a place in cinematic history as the female lead in one of the most successful movies of all time.
Carrie Fisher died on December 27, 2016 at age 60, leaving behind a daughter, Billie Lourd, and millions of heartbroken fans.
Carrie Fisher's Original Star Wars Audition With Harrison Ford
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© 2018 Tim Anderson