I had not realised this – that Diana Dors had met Burt Lancaster in London – in his suite at Claridges - in the early 50s and he had offered her the part of Dalabo in his forthcoming film His Majesty O Keefe which was turned down by her then husband Dennis Hamilton – who was her business manager – in favour of a Summer Season at Blackpool as it turned out.
I am a great fan of Joan Rice who took the part – and was very good in it, but I also am an admirer of Diana Dors who was a very good actor.
Above: Joan Rice and Burt Lancaster in a still from the film
It appears that Burt Lancster asked to see Diana at his suite at Claridges in London and indeed she did have this meeting alone with Burt but with her husband lurking somewhere below. She later tested for the part by darkening her skin a little, donning a sarong, and wearing a black wig but Dennis would not let her take this part. It wouldn’t be much of a guess as to why.
I am pleased however that Joan Rice got the part – but can’t help but wonder what the film would have been like with Diana in that role – but more than that the effect it would have had on her future because she may well have seized the opportunity of such a big film as this. Her husband thought better of her spending months in Fiji on a South Sea Island with Burt Lancaster.