This chapter introduces Fox’s next big roadshow musical project: Star!, a biographical film based on the life of English actress Gertrude Lawrence. It was tailor-made for Julie Andrews and was to reunite her with The Sound of Music’s producer Saul Chaplin and director Robert Wise. Star! had costly overruns during its long production, but Fox was confident it would be a huge hit. At Columbia, another biopic was being made, this one of American comedienne Fanny Brice. The project was Funny Girl, and it had been a Broadway triumph for young Barbra Streisand. She was signed for the film version for $1 million. Columbia secured William Wyler, a director with an unimpeachable record of guiding actresses to memorable performances. The third section of this chapter covers the stage musical Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing. When Fox bought the film rights, Channing was passed over for Barbra Streisand in the title role. This create enormous controversy not only because of Channing’s association with the role, but because Streisand was considerably younger than the character.
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