Camp Flashback: Valley of the Dolls Casting Weirdness


The 1967 campfest Valley of the Dolls is the ultimate glossy film about three showbiz glamour girls who fall into a big bottle of pills.

(They should remake it with Britney, Paris, and Lindsay.)

Interestingly, the book’s author, Jackie Susann, wanted Liza Minnelli to play the part of rising-star-turned-drug-mess Neely O’Hara (which ultimately went to Patty Duke).

Neely happened to be based on the young Judy Garland — you know, Liza’s mother!

And Neely’s arch nemesis, aging battleax Helen Lawson (based on Ethel Merman), was originally played by — yes — Judy Garland, who became too messy to do so and was replaced by Susan Hayward.

Are you doing the math?

If everything had worked out, Liza as messy Judy would have been fighting it out in a bathroom with messy Judy as nasty Merman!

There are so many levels of bizarreness here that I should just step back and dive into a bottle of pills.

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