Did I Read That Right?
In Mark Harris's excellent Pictures At A Revolution, a book about the five film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1967, one sentence made me stop short. At the beginning of Chapter Thirteen, Harris notes there were two kinds of young New York theater actors, as far as Hollywood was concerned--those handsome enough to recruit for movies and those that weren't. (His larger point is someone like Dustin Hoffman had no place at all in mid-60s Hollywood.)
Of those who could make it, there were the square-jawed leading man types--Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, George Peppard, James Farentino--who could be signed to big contracts after which the studios hoped they'd catch on.
Harris goes on:
The second tier of actor was understood to be a victim of genetic bad luck, someone who, whatever his talent, could never be groomed or reshaped or prettified into a movie star and was left behind to ply his trade in New York. The studios assumed that actors who looked or sounded like Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight and Alan Arkin would be of little interest to the American public; they might be useful in a comic or supporting role now and then, but nothing more.Jon Voight a victim of genetics?! Mark Harris is gay, and perhaps a better judge of male pulchritude than I, but Jon Voight in the mid-60s was as pretty as a girl.