Turns out some of them have a little dignity after all.
Kinda reminds me of the time I worked in cable TV and we wanted to license the song, "Burning Down The House," (the Tom Jones remake) as the theme for a crappy new reality series. When you license a cover, you have to get permission from (and pay big bucks to) both the cover artist and the original song composers. It took the lawyers a while to get in touch with Tom Jones, but when they did, he said sure, great, I'll take your 30K, old boy. We weren't quite so lucky with the Talking Heads--their answer was something to the effect of "Go fuck yourselves."
When he heard this, my witty friend Spinderfella said, "Damn those Talking Heads! How dare they have artistic integrity?!"
Here are the people who politely told DWTS to shove it, and why they did (when known).
Jamie Lee Curtis - “My family commitments are such that I wouldn't have the time for it...but it definitely made me go, 'Hmmm.' It was fun to think about it."
Jennifer Beals - “You could back up a truck to my door filled with cash and I wouldn’t do it.” Having once attended a taping of the show to cheer on friend and former contestant Marlee Matlin, Beals was overwhelmed by the experience. “The noise level is so intense and people’s excitement level is so intense. I could never.” She even joked with Matlin, who is deaf, “You don’t know how lucky you are you can’t hear this.”
Betty White - probably doesn't want to fall and break her hip
Gayle King - despite being a fixture on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the 56-year-old O magazine editor-in-chief doesn’t mince words when it comes to her appearing on national television in her dancing shoes. “I think it's good to keep my public humiliation to a minimum. I would never want to embarrass my children ever...or myself! I can't dance.”
Subway pitchman Jared Fogel
Kathy Griffin - she claimed to have fired her agent over the mere suggestion
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Dan Quayle - the former VP was in final negotiations when he got cold feet and dropped out.
Virgin CEO Richard Branson
Stone Cold Steve Austin - the wrestler said he wasn't interested because he has "two left feet" and his rhythm is "so-so at best."
Reverend Al Sharpton - has been wooed by producers for many seasons, but he has never agreed to put on his dancing shoes. He says it’s not for lack of talent, though: “I’ve got moves...I’d blow ’em out! There would be no chance for anybody to touch me!”
And one star who wants to be on the show but can't get them to return her call:
"According to show's casting source, Melanie Griffith tries and fails to appear on 'DWTS' every year." (CBS News)