Gone With the Wind (1939)
Birdwell was also involved in one of the industry's most famous PR efforts: The search for the actress to play Scarlett O'Hara in the screen version of Margaret Mitchell's novel created much hoopla as the casting director traveled the country holding open auditions. After three years of interviews and auditions with stars such as Katherine Hepburn, Paulette Goddard, and Lana Turner, the role went to Vivien Leigh, who had appeared in a few films, but remained largely unknown outside of Great Britain. Frankly, the public didn't seem to give a damn, because they made Gone With the Wind the highest grossing film in movie history (adjusted for inflation). Its original release and seven re-releases over the years have raked in nearly $2.7 billion in today's figures.