Beverly D’Angelo Nearly Turned Down Playing National Lampoon’s Vacation’s Ellen Griswold

Despite all of her reservations, Beverly D’Angelo’s agent continued to push her to take a closer look at the “Vacation” script and really consider the role. Broad comedy wasn’t necessarily in her wheelhouse, which was another hurdle to getting her aboard the production. After all, at that point in her career, D’Angelo was mostly known for “Hair” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” In fact, she was so adamant she was all wrong for the part that she even tried to provide alternatives for the studio, as she told People in a 2022 interview:

“I was so sure that I wasn’t the right person. I even suggested somebody else to my agent and he went, ‘No, no, no. Really, take a look at the script.'”

And yet her agent, who we sure like to believe knew his client’s strengths as a performer, insisted she look at one character in particular, who he found positively hilarious. That character was Randy Quaid’s Cousin Eddie, who her agent, as well as her husband, found to be both outrageous and uproariously funny. But what really sealed the deal for D’Angelo was meeting the man who would become her long-time onscreen husband, Chevy Chase. As she told People, their chemistry was immediate: “It was like meeting my brother.” Given the many, many behind-the-scenes stories about how difficult Chase can be to both work and get along with, that right there alone was the clearest sign no one else could have ever played Ellen Griswold.

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