Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


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Elizabeth Taylor gained nearly 30 pounds to play the role of a middle-aged wife just for this film.

Connie Stevens, who was under contract to Warner Bros. at the time of the film's casting, pleaded with studio head Jack L. Warner for the part of Honey.

Richard Burton celebrated his 40th birthday on the set of the film where spouse Elizabeth Taylor presented him with a white 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado.

Richard Burton was heavily criticized for playing his character with an English accent.

Jack Lemmon was the only actor to be offered the role of George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? before Richard Burton was cast. He accepted the role but quickly changed his mind the next day without offering any explanation.



Mercedes McCambridge had portrayed "Martha" onstage and sought after the film role.

Sandy Dennis, who was pregnant at the time of filming, suffered a miscarriage on the set.

Robert Redford turned down the role of Nick.

Edward Albee said he came up with the title when he saw the phrase written on a men's room wall in a New York tavern.

Frank Flanagan, who appears uncredited as the motel/café innkeeper, was the film's gaffer. The woman who plays his wife is actually his real-life wife Agnes who was Elizabeth Taylor's hairdresser on the film.

Willard Maas and Marie Menken and their relationship were the basis for the characters of George and Martha.

18th July 1966: Police seized this film, and arrested the manager of a local Nashville cinema, for contravening a municipal order that banned films, as this, for contents of an obscene nature.

A copy of Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse' can be seen on the bookshelf above the liquor bottles.

Academy Award-winning cinematographer Harry Stradling Sr. was replaced by Haskell Wexler just after filming began for attempting to "beautify" Elizabeth Taylor.

According a 2005 interview with Edward Albee, the original writer of the play which the film is based, producer Ernest Lehman hired himself to write the screenplay for $250,000. Also, Albee says that when director Mike Nichols and stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor read the script, they hated it so much that, unknown to Lehman, they changed all of the dialog back to Albee's play save two lines: "Hey, let's go to the roadhouse!" and "Hey, let's come back from the roadhouse!" Albee said, "Two lines for $250,000, $125,000 a piece. That's pretty good."

According to Edward Albee, the only thing he doesn't like about the film is the over-use of over-head shots. He did say, however, that he envisioned Bette Davis and James Mason as Martha and George rather than Taylor and Burton. If Davis had been cast, she would have ended up parodying a line from one of her old films ("What a dump!") in the opening scene.

According to director Mike Nichols, actress Marlene Dietrich visited the set and completely ignored Elizabeth Taylor, only speaking with Richard Burton and Nichols. Elizabeth later commented "It's a very strange thing to be ignored on your own movie set."

According to director Mike Nichols, producer/screenwriter Ernest Lehman had written a different ending for the film where George and Martha's son had hung himself in the closet years before. Nichols refused to shoot it.

Although the title was obviously inspired by the song "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?" (sung in the Disney cartoon The Three Little Pigs), Warner Bros. was unable to negotiate use of tune, so when characters sing the title phrase it is illogically set to melody of the public domain folk song "Here We Go 'round the Mulberry Bush."

Costing $7.5 million, it was the most expensive black & white movie yet made in the U.S. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Edward Albee's combined salaries/fees were (not including percentages): $2,350,000 - $1,100,000 for Taylor, $750,000 for Burton and $500,000 for Albee.

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