1981: Robbins wanted Burnett for ‘Funny Girl’

June 26, 1981

GOOD MORNING: Ray Stark reveals Carol Burnett was Jerome Robbins’ choice to star in “Funny Girl.” Carol’s now starring for Ray in “Annie.” Carol confirms — however she suggested two others for the role to Ray, “Anne Bancroft if you want a star , and Barbra Streisand if you want to make a star.” Why didn’t Carol take it? “I was too Waspish.” She’s now playing the loveable (?) heavy “Miss Harrington,” the orpanage boss in “Annie.” And director John Huston says, “She’s an artist, a clown, a Chaplin.” Burnett bowled over by the compliment, allowed, “He (Huston) opens the key for an actor.” The “Annie” troupe, breathing a little easier today with progress in the DGA negotiations, is filming on a $1 million set on the TBS backlot. It’s the first big-time addition to the N.Y. street created by Dale Hennessey. They’ve completed all N.Y. and N.J. locations — including a chase scene involving an autogyro with Punjab (Geoffrey Holder) hanging from his turban and rescuing Annie (Aileen Quinn) dangling from an almost perpendicular drawbridge. It’s got qualities of James Bond and “Star Wars.” — set in the 1933 family musicomedy. (2006 update: Carol Burnett is once again playing a “heavy” — as the kangaroo in the animated “Horton Hears A Who” filmed version of Ted Geisel’s “Dr.Seuss” book. She’s also touring a Q&A fund-raiser for the Balcony Theater in memory of daughter Carrie Hamilton. A recent question from the audience: “If you could be a member of the opposite sex for one day who would you be — and what would you do?” Carol (dumbfounded), came up with this answer: “Osama bin Laden — and I’d kill myself.” Laughs Carol: “I have no idea what made me say it.”

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