Julia Roberts' character in 'Pretty Woman' was originally meant to die of a drug overdose.

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts

Former Disney studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg has revealed they were "debating" killing off Vivian Ward - a prostitute who falls in love with wealthy business dealer Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) - in the classic romantic comedy from 1990 played by the 49-year-old beauty.

According to the New York Post's Page Six column, Katzenberg told an audience at a Q&A at Hearst Tower in New York: "I can't tell you how much time was spent debating."

The 66-year-old film executive said that the movie was planned to be a lot darker than it was in the end and that the reason it ended up being light-hearted was because they had a hard time "convincing" the Walt Disney Company to make it less of a "princess movie".

He added: "As a script, 'Pretty Woman' was an R-rated movie about a hooker on Hollywood Boulevard.

"By the way, in the original version -- it's pretty dark -- I think she died of an overdose. So convincing [people] that we should make that at the Walt Disney Co., and that it's a fairy tale and a princess movie, a lot of people had a hard time seeing it. But, as they say, the rest is history."