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cancelled projects / close calls




Janssen was considered, or close to being cast, in the following films:



This Tyrone Power film would have been Janssen's 7th Universal film as a contract player but military duty called. He has to surrender his juvenile lead role in June of 1952 in order to report to the Army base at Ft. Ord.


Directed by Jose Ferrer. Janssen participated in rehearsals for this film on 9/15, 9/16, and 9/17/54, but did not go on to do any role.


Seven months after completing TO HELL AND BACK with Audie Murphy, Janssen screen tested for a part on his new film on 5/10/55.


In August 1955, Janssen was budgeted for the part of "Lew Hogan" in this John Agar - Mamie Van Doren Western. Harry Morgan played the part.


In the same month, Janssen was penciled in for this sci-fi / horror film that Gregg Palmer eventually did (part of "Jed Grant").


Janssen screen tested for a part on this film 9/12/55. He was tested a second time 10/5/55. This was not the 1958 Columbia Pictures movie starring Kim Stanley. It was a film to be produced by Aaron Rosenberg, alternately called AND YET SO FAR, that was developed from 1953-1956 and never went into production.


Another Audie Murphy film. Janssen's screen test was 10/29/55.


Afraid of being type-cast as a cowboy, Janssen turned down the offer for a lead in this NBC series in favor of RICHARD DIAMOND, PRIVATE DETECTIVE. THE CALIFORNIANS was a Desilu Production.

DARBY'S RANGERS (1957) feature

Through LAFAYETTE ESCADRILLE, Janssen made a friend in director William Wellman who offered him a role inthis, his next film. The offer came in just as he was being confirmed as star of RICHARD DIAMOND. Daily Variety reported on 1/29/57 that the schedule on his new TV series which was to begin in February would have to be altered to accomdate the movie's April start date. It was not and David lost out on the film role.

PONY EXPRESS (1957) TV series

This offer too came in as well allegedly the same week as RICHARD DIAMOND materialized. Janssen would have played Brett Clark in a role that went to Grant Sullivan in the pilot episode "The Story of Julesberg" which was written by Sam Peckinpah. This was a non-network syndicated show.

THE HUNTERS (1958) feature

Dick Powell, Janssen's producer/boss on "Richard Diamond" announced he was testing David for a role in this 20th Century-Fox film which he directed. Renewal of the "Diamond" show for an additional season would have precluded Janssen from being available for the film and it is not certain if the test was actually ever done.

DISTRICT SEVEN(1958) TV series

The October 18, 1958 edition of TV GUIDE had a blurb that Janssen was being readied for this new series and would play a court reporter. Again this was during a period of uncertainty for "Richard Diamond".

THE RACERS (1959) TV pilot

This pilot was announced in 6/59 and was to have been for ABC Films / Joseph Schenck Enterprises. Ted Post was set as director and Janssen was to have started right after completing his MR. ROBERTS stage play obligation in Dayton, Ohio. It possibly never went into production as a sudden renewal of RICHARD DIAMOND for a 4th NBC season occurred.

BUTTERFIELD 8 (1959) feature

Janssen was seriously up for the "Steve Carpenter" role, but was bumped in favor of Eddie Fisher due to his romance with star Elizabeth Taylor.


Nepotism strikes again. Albert Zugsmith who'd worked with Janssen at U-I and produced THE SQUARE JUNGLE wanted to pair Jayne Meadows and Janssen in this Irving Shulman-written film. Meadows campaigned for husband Steve Allen and prevailed.

SARAMBO (1960) feature

A he-man role in a West Indies-set adventure story which was mentioned as a possibility of the first feature Janssen might do after winding the final RICHARD DIAMOND episodes in early 1960. This picture may never have been made.

MACAO (1960) pilot

Janssen was to have played the owner of a Hong Kong gambling casino/restaurant. Producer was Tony Owen and Anna Kashfi and possibly Ina Victor were scheduled to co-star. Filming was scheduled for 9/60 in Macao and Hong Kong. It never went into production.

THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT (1965) feature

Janssen's FUGITIVE schedule couldn't be worked out to co-star with Doris Day in this film. A series-free actor Rod Taylor, was cast.

AN AMERICAN DREAM (1966) feature

Janssen may have been considered for this film during his FUGITIVE run, in a role that went to Stuart Whitman.

FUNNY GIRL (1967) feature

In March, 1967 after four long years and 120 episodes, THE FUGITIVE ended production. Janssen was ready to make his transition to the big screen. He was seriously considered for the role of Nicky Arnstein opposite Barbra Streisand in FUNNY GIRL, and "Variety" actually erroneously announced his casting on April 18th. What actually occurred was a screen test the afternoon of May 1st. Janssen was passed over for Omar Sharif. Janssen rebounded soon after by accepting a role in THE GREEN BERETS.

5 SOBS (1968) feature

Janssen was announced as a co-star, along with George C. Scott, for this WWII yarn in August, 1968. Filming for producer Dino DeLaurentiis was scheduled to take place in Rome and Sicily beginning in November. Arthur Hiller was to have directed.

The film was canceled and Janssen took legal action against the producer in New York courts for breach of contract. The suit was settled out of court. May have alternately been called THE FIVE DEVILS or CINCOS DIABLOS. MAROONED materialized for Janssen instead.

THE ALIEN (1971) feature

In early May 1971, before production started on his O'HARA, UNITED STATES TREASURY series, Janssen was supposed to play a "mysterious figure" in this outer space-related contemporary story. Producer was David Levinson, director Douglas Hayes. It was a tight schedule with Janssen finishing the movie on a Friday and starting the series on the following Monday. When cast member Genevieve Bujold dropped out just before photography was to have started, the need to recast caused the film to push its shooting date and caused a conflict for Janssen. The film was later made as THE GROUNDSTAR CONSPIRACY with Michael Sarrazin in the part originally earmarked for Janssen, Christine Belford in the Bujold role, and George Peppard in a part that Robert Stack was originally going to play.


DUEL (1971) television film

According to a published biography of Steven Spielberg, the lead role in his early TV film was offered to both Gregory Peck and Janssen before going to Dennis Weaver.

GABLE AND LOMBARD (1975) feature

Janssen was compared to Gable for years and accused by the tabloids of being his illegitimate son (to which he'd ask rhetorically what Gable was doing in Naponee, Nebraska where his mother lived). It was rumored he wanted this part opposite Jill Clayburgh which went to James Brolin in 1975.

PROSECUTOR (1977) feature

Janssen considered this David Susskind-produced film as his next project when beginning to shoot A SENSITIVE, PASSIONATE MAN.

ABOVE SUSPICION (1978) feature

"Variety" announced this job for Janssen in 3/78. It was to have been in Greece and directed by Demis Daderas. Janssen did the more prestigious miniseries THE WORD instead.

CONCRETE CITY (1979) feature

This was the title of a project he was talking to Susannah York about in 1979 after working with her in THE GOLDEN GATE MURDERS.

FATHER DAMIEN: THE LEPER PRIEST (1980) television film

Janssen had just begun work on this project and had filmed February 11th and 12th, 1980. He died suddenly at his beach home in Malibu in the early morning before his third day of work. The production shut down and actor Ken Howard was very quickly recast in the role. The film was posthumously dedicated the David and aired 10/27/80. Directed by Steve Gethers. Produced by Jean Moore Edwards. For Tomorrow Entertainment.

RILEY AND THE GENERAL (1980) feature

May have been next in the cue after the FATHER DAMIEN film. He was considering the script written by David Kinghorn who wrote THE GOLDEN GATE MURDERS at the time of his death.



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