6. MARILYN MONROE IN “SOMETHING’S GOT TO GIVE” (1962).
Monroe was contractually obligated to star in this fluffy 20th Century Fox comedy opposite Dean Martin. The controversy surrounding her firing from this doomed project lingers to this day. One side of biographers claims that Monroe’s unprofessional and insecure behavior drove up the budget, forcing the studio to shut down the film and fire her. Others point to the surviving footage, which shows Monroe giving a vibrant and amusing performance, and claim that studio’s “Cleopatra” debacle forced Monroe to be kicked out because Fox was going broke.
THE RESULTS: Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home shortly after the film was aborted. The mystery surrounding her death continues to this day. The film itself was eventually made in 1964 with Doris Day as “Move Over, Darling.”
7. LISA EICHHORN FOR “ALL NIGHT LONG” (1981).
Eichhorn was an up-and-coming actress who scored critical acclaim for the art films “The Europeans” (1979), “Yanks” (1979) and “Cutter’s Way” (1981). She was ready to go Hollywood in “All Night Long,” playing a kooky romantic interest for Gene Hackman, who starred as the harried manager of an all-night convenience store. But Eichhorn’s performance was not pleasing the film’s producers, who abruptly fired her during the beginning of production. She was replaced with Barbra Streisand, of all people, who set a precedent by agreeing to take second billing to Hackman (albeit with a salary that smacked the budget into a tailspin).
THE RESULTS: “All Night Long” was a big flop. Eichhorn’s career never quite recovered from her firing and she continued playing small roles in unmemorable indie flicks.
8. ERIC STOLTZ FOR “BACK TO THE FUTURE” (1985).
Stoltz became a hot property with his extraordinary performance in “Mask” (1985) and was set to hit superstardom as Marty McFly in this highly-anticapted sci-fi comedy. But director Robert Zemeckis changed his mind about Stoltz as shooting progressed and showed him the door, replacing him with sitcom star Michael J. Fox. Stoltz would later complain that the embarrassing news of his being fired from “Back to the Future” cost him an Oscar nomination for “Mask.”
THE RESULTS: Stoltz’ career has thrived, albeit mostly in highly-regarded indie productions. Curiously, Michael J. Fox never enjoyed any film success outside of the “Back to the Future” trilogy and wound up returning to TV sitcomland before ill health sidetracked his career.
9. EMILY LLOYD FOR “HUSBANDS AND WIVES” (1992).
British actress Lloyd was a rising star on both sides of the Atlantic with memorable performances in “Wish You Were Here” (1987) and “Cookie” (1989). Woody Allen chose her for the small but pivotal role as the Columbia University student who becomes the object of his character’s failed romantic yearnings. But Allen felt Lloyd was not hitting the right marks and kicked her off the film in the middle of production, replacing her with Juliette Lewis.
THE RESULTS: Lloyd’s career waned after her firing and she never recovered the early momentum surrounding her initial films.
10. DUDLEY MOORE IN “THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES” (1996).
Moore was cast as leading man Jeff Bridges’ best friend. While his character had relatively little to do with the film beyond a handful of scenes, director/star Barbra Streisand was displeased by what she perceived as Moore’s sloppy and unfocused performance. Moore was sacked by Streisand, who replaced him with George Segal (her leading man from the 1970 comedy “The Owl and the Pussycat”).
THE RESULTS: Moore’s weak performance was later tied to a health breakdown: three years after being fired, he announced he was suffering from a degenerative neurological condition called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. “The Mirror Has Two Faces” was the last time Moore worked in films.