Rosie O’Donnell Was Almost Cast In ‘Hocus Pocus’

in Disney, Movies

The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus (Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy)

Credit: Disney

Rosie O’Donnell, one of the pre-eminent comedic stars of the 90s, recently revealed that she almost played one of the Sanderson Sisters in the Disney cult classic Hocus Pocus (1993).

Rosie O'Donnell in the A League of Their Own TV series
Credit: Amazon Studios

Rosie O’Donnell is one of the most influential comedians of all time. After finding success on the stand-up circuit in the 80s, she would make her film debut in A League of Their Own (1992) alongside Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, and Madonna. She would then go on to star in The Flinstones (1994), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), and Disney’s Tarzan (1999). She would later appear in American Gigolo () with Jon Bernthal and the television version of A League of Their Own (2022-present).

However, O’Donnell’s most significant success was with her daytime talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show (1996-2002). The show was a huge hit, earning O’Donnell multiple Emmy Awards and sponsorship from Kmart. She left the show in 2002, shortly after coming out as a lesbian. She would later have two stints as a panelist on The View (1997-present) from 2006-2007 and 2014-2015 alongside Barabara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg, amongst many others.

Amidst all this, Rosie O’Donnell had a chance to star in a different movie that became a Halloween classic: Hocus Pocus. However, O’Donnell recently revealed that she didn’t just not get the part; she turned it down.

Rosie O’Donnell Turned Down Mary Sanderson

Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson in Hocus Pocus
Credit Disney

Related: Rosie O’Donnell Publicly Apologizes to Priyanka Chopra For “Inappropriate” Conduct

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rosie O’Donnell spoke about her journey navigating the entertainment industry as a lesbian. During the discussion, she shared that she was approached to play Kathy Najimy’s role, Mary Sanderson, in Hocus Pocus. However, O’Donnell stated that she felt like she had to decline.

“Because I didn’t want to play the fat, mean witch who eats and kills kids. Even though it was Bette Midler, who was like, my favorite, and Sarah Jessica Parker,” O’Donnell explained, “I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do a part where I would be mean to kids, and the joke was about the [character’s] size. I just felt like I had to say no for that.”

Mary and Winnifred Sanderson played by Kathy Najimy and Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus
Credit: Disney

Related: ‘Hocus Pocus 3’ Officially Announced

That being said, Rosie O’Donnell had nothing but praise for Najimy’s performance. “And I think Kathy’s fantastic in it. You know, she does that face. I don’t even know how she does it.”

O’Donnell continued to praise the film, sharing her love of Bette Midler, “one of the archetypal women that I grew up to and wanted to be around.”

Do you think Rodie O’Donnell would have been a good Mary Sanderson? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Disney, Movies

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