ROLES THAT COULDA, SHOULDA BEEN: PAMELA TIFFIN
1961: After Juliet Prowse plays diva making too many demands to reunite with Elvis after their success in G.I. Blues, producer Hal Wallis’ offers Tiffin the role of Maile, the half Hawaiian girlfriend of returned G.I. Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii (1961). She turns it down. Joan Blackman takes the part in one of the King’s biggest hits.
1962: Hal Wallis wants her to play Laurence Harvey’s Asian love interest in A Girl Named Tamiko. Pamela recalled, “I spent hours in makeup and did look Japanese. I thought, ‘I’m under contract, I’ll do whatever they want, but this is rather ridiculous.” Wiser heads prevailed, andTiffinis replaced by France Nuyen.
1962: Wallis offers her another chance to go to Hawaii to frolic opposite Elvis Presley this time in Girls! Girls! Girls! She rejects a second chance to work with the King and the role of a rich girl, who hides her wealth from the proud singer/fisherman. It goes to newcomer Laurel Goodwin.
1962: It is reported that Tiffin was in negotiations to play Cordelia, the lady love of Dirk Bogarde’s Soren Kierkegaard, a real-life nineteenth-century philosopher, in Diary of a Seducer. James S. Elliot was schedule to produce for Howard Koch’s Holly wood Artists Productions with Mexican Benito Alazraki directing a script by novelist Robert Payne. Elliot described the tale as “a chase, or a pursuit of perfection in love.” Filming was to begin in September 1962 on location in Greece. It never came to fruition. – New York Times, Feb. 18, 1962
1962: 20th Century-Fox announces that she and Ann-Margret will star in Love in a Cool Climate “taken from” Frederick Kohner’s novel. They don’t. – Los Angeles Times, Mar. 1, 1962
1962: Director Robert Wise reveals that she will star in his next movie A Rage to Live, from John O’Hara’s bestselling novel about a nymphomaniac, for the Mirisch Corp. Film is released in 1965 with Walter Grauman directing and Suzanne Pleshette as the star. – Los Angeles Times, Apr. 3, 1962
1963: Tiffin once again rejects Hal Wallis’ offer to star opposite Elvis Presley this time in Fun in Acapulco. First time Bond Girl Ursula Andress takes the part. Wallis finally gets the message and never offers her an Elvis movie again.Tiffin explained, “Everybody told me not to do Elvis Presley movies. Peter Glenville and Dolores Hart in particular poisoned my mind against it. I felt obligated to do these films but Mr. Wallis said it was up to me. Here again I listened to other people. I even met Elvis. I thought he was adorable and an amazing gentleman. But I still didn’t do the films. I regret it deeply.” What is head scratching is where were these advisers when she accepted roles opposite Pat Boone and James Darren?
1963: Otto Preminger asks her to test for the role of the priest’s ill-fated sister Mona in The Cardinal. She doesn’t get the part, which goes to Carol Lynley. She remembered, “Preminger frightened me to death. I knew he would. He kept yelling, ‘No! No! No!’ I thought, ‘this isn’t for me because I can’t do anything right for him.’”
1963: Popular Pamela is wanted by author Dick Condon to star in the movie version of his comedy western novel A Talent for Loving, while George Goodman is writing The Venus Package especially with her in mind. A Talent for Loving is delayed until 1969, though never released theatrically in theU.S., with Genevieve Page in the female lead. – Hedda Hopper, Sept. 14, 1963
1964: Tiffin reveals that she is in discussion to star opposite Robert Morse in a New York City-set film to be called The Unusual Life of Willy Wildy. She commented, “He’s an embezzler and I’d play his wife, who’s crazy about cats.” However, it is the role of the kidnapped girl in The Collector that she really wanted. She admitted, “I’d love to get the part…but so many girls have tested for it that you never know.” Alas, Samantha Eggar got the part and an Academy Award Best Actress nomination, while the Morse flick never came to be. – Hedda Hopper, Feb. 9, 1964
1964: She tests for the female lead in the comedy The Great Race starring Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Though producers Martin Jurow and director Blake Edwards were “thrilled” with her reading, the role goes to Natalie Wood. – Hedda Hopper, Mar. 9, 1964
1964: Is reported that Warner Bros. wants Pamela to play the role of Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She later tests for it with Robert Redford as her husband, but they lose out to Sandy Dennis and George Segal. – Hedda Hopper, Jul. 6, 1964
1964: Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin think “she would be adorable” for their next movie together, Community Property. It is re-titled Marriage on the Rocks and nepotism wins out, as Frank gives the role of his daughter to his real-life daughter, Nancy Sinatra. – Hedda Hopper, Jul. 6, 1964
1964: Pamela Tiffin’s agents are vigorously trying to get her the lead role in Candy figuring “it will guarantee her stardom.” Frank Perry is slated to direct from a script is by Terry Southern based on his novel. Movie cannot get financing and is shelved, but revived in 1968 with miscast Swede Ewa Aulin as the amorous innocent blonde. – Dorothy Kilgallen, Oct. 14, 1964
1965: She is one of only a very few “Hollywood” actresses allowed by director Sidney Lumet to read for a role in The Group. This is probably because she lived inNew York. She craved the role of the bitchy Libby, but it goes to Jessica Walter.Tiffin remarked, “They told me I was too funny. I was devastated, but Sidney Lumet did write me a kind note. A lot of people told me I was best for comedy, not drama. They were probably right.”
1966: She is #12 (after Yvette Mimieux but before Patty Duke) on producer Larry Turman’s wish list to play Mrs. Robinson’s daughter in The Graduate. Katherine Ross is cast and gets an Academy Award nomination. – Vanity Fair’s Tale of Hollywood
1970: Tiffin reveals that when she was offered the lead role in The Libertine (1968) she had a trusted female friend take photos of her topless to see if she felt comfortable. The role of a recent widow who learns her husband had a secret apartment for sexual encounters and decides to use it to discover her own sexuality required on-screen nudity. Tiffin decided to turn the part down (Catherine Spaak stepped in). However, the photographer sold the photos to Playboy magazine and published them in a February 1969 pictorial spread called “A Toast toTiffin.” And what a toast it was! The actress’ lawyers advised her to sue, but she did not want to cause a scandal bringing even more publicity to it and let it go. – Earl Wilson, Jan. 7, 1970