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Jean Arthur, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ — Actors Who Almost Played Famous Roles

Jean Arthur and Donna Reed as Mary Bailey
Eugene Robert Richee, Getty Images/Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Imagine what the face of cinema would look like if the sweet and virginal Mary Bailey in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ had been played by comedienne Jean Arthur instead of the endearing and motherly Donna Reed. Arthur, who was known for sassy roles in ‘You Can’t Take it With You’ and ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ turned down the role because she was already committed to a Broadway show. Thankfully, this allowed Ms. Reed to make her own indelible mark on iconic motherhood.

Next: Cinema's Biggest Flops

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