‘I Love Lucy’ Star Lucille Ball Once Auditioned for This Iconic Role in ‘Gone With the Wind’

by Emily Morgan

As everyone’s favorite redhead, Lucille Ball will always be the beloved icon from the classic TV sitcom “I Love Lucy.” During its tenure from 1951 to 1957, millions of Americans fell in love with her as the sometimes quirky but always loveable Lucy Ricardo. However, Ball almost added to her acting resume when she nearly starred in one of Hollywood’s most iconic films. 

Ball held an incredibly prestigious career throughout her life, winning 20 awards and garnering 17 nominations. She also has 70 producer credits, 121 actress credits, and two directorial credits. Although there’s a vast amount of knowledge online about Ball, there is one piece of information we found surprising, such as when she auditioned for Gone with the Wind.

Ball auditioned for the lead role of Scarlett, which she discussed on the Bob Hope show back in 1984. The film’s producer, David O. Selznick, was looking for an actress for the lead role, and the studio suggested 27-year-old Lucille Ball, according to The Atlantic

During the interview, Ball recounted showing up for the audition, having had four shots of brandy. In addition, she was soaking wet from the rain.  

“Selznick said, ‘You were very interesting. Very interesting.’ I said, ‘I was not, and you know it,'” Ball recalled. “And, then I just crawled out of the office on my knees holding onto the sweater trying to keep all the vital parts covered.” 

Lucille Ball nearly lands role in one of America’s most well-known movies

Although the part would eventually go to Vivien Leigh, Lucille Ball will still be known as one of America’s most beloved actresses. Today, Gone with the Wind has continued its reign as one of the most e influential movies. The iconic phrase “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” has become a memorable and historical quote. However, the film was not without controversy. 

To begin with, there was a racial issue with the script. According to NPR, at the time of production, the head of the NAACP, Walter White, urged Selznick to hire an African American adviser. They put the adviser in place to oversee the sensitive matters seen in the movie.  

The film was set in 1861 in the south. At the time, racial tensions ran high. African American activists wanted to make sure the film’s script was handled appropriately. 

Throughout the years, Gone with the Wind has been regarded as one of the greatest and most critically acclaimed movies. Since its inception, it’s maintained a high spot on all-time greatest movie lists, according to reports from the BBC. 

The movie, filmed in 1939, follows Scarlett O’Hara, a plantation owner’s daughter in the antebellum south. She tries to find love with Rhett Butler, played by Clark Gable, amid the Civil War.