A Short-Sighted Twilight Zone Producer Passed On Casting A Young Liza Minnelli – SlashFilm


“One of the people I interviewed was this nervous, frightened little girl whose hands shook and who was covered with sweat,” producer William Froug recalled in an interview for “The Twilight Zone Companion.” He wasn’t impressed. “I said, ‘She’ll never make it.’ Her name was Liza Minnelli.” Froug clarified that he certainly thought Minnelli had the potential to be a star, but felt that the teenager who sat in front of him was all wrong for the role of Mary Rachel:

“I’ll never forget Liza Minnelli sitting there and her agent saying, ‘This girl can really sing.’ I said, ‘I’m sure she can,’ but I thought, ‘Oh, she is so nervous! She’s scared out of her mind. To picture her as a hillbilly singer: no way.’ And I must tell you — and this is the truth — at the time, I sat there thinking, ‘Well, I’ll probably kick myself for this but I can’t see this girl playing the part — but she’ll probably be a big star.’ I still don’t regret it, but it was really classic stupidity.”

Richard Donner later disputed Froug’s characterization of the casting process, particularly his taking the credit for choosing Bonnie Beecher over Minnelli. “He didn’t choose her; I did,” Donner said in “Dimensions Behind the Twilight Zone,” adding, “Because I knew Liza. I thought Bonnie was incredible.”

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