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Actor's Very Own Words

IMDB The Source Who Knows!

  Things they Say and Do....  

Jeanette MacDonald said:

"I've been told I have an Irish temper, I know I have Scottish thrift, and, like the English, I love a good show."

"I can't believe how blessed I am! I'm married to the most wonderful man, Gene Raymond, whom I'm deeply in love with, and, my career is right where I want it to be. I can live like this forever!" (1943)

"I must have had rocks in my head," when asked by friend Samuel Griffin in the 1950s why she married Gene Raymond instead of Nelson Eddy.


Gene Raymond said:

On Jeanette MacDonald and their marriage (1972): "We had 28 glorious years. Jeanette and I respected and loved each other, very deeply. We put one another before anyone or anything. I am blessed to have known her, loved her and been loved by her - absolutely, an incredible lady!"


"Gene, is the most wonderful man I've ever known. He's warm, sensitive, loving, funny and very handsome. Being Mrs. Gene Raymond, I admit I'm biased!" - Jeanette MacDonald (1947)

Nelson Eddy said:

"I don't know why people still want to believe that Jeanette MacDonald and I were a couple off the set. There's no truth to that rumor, at all. She's happily married to Gene Raymond and I'm happily married to Anne. I guess people want to believe that what they see on the screen is reality while in actuality, it's just a movie!" (1957)


What was it about his movies that he didn't watch them: "Simply because I was too ashamed of them."


Commented during a nightclub tour: "I want to keep going till I drop." (1960s)


Jane Powell said:

Her role model and favorite actress is the lyrical soprano/actress, Jeanette MacDonald

"I didn't quit movies. They quit me."

"The only thing I knew was MGM, where I had worked since I was 14. Unions were not even a part of my vocabulary. SAG meant a gravity problem. EQUITY meant owning a house."

William Holden said:

For me, acting is not an all-consuming thing, except for the moment when I am actually doing it.

Take any picture you can. One out of four will be good, one out of ten will be very good, and one out of 15 will get you an Academy Award.

Movie acting may not have a certain kind of glory as true art, but it is damn hard work.

I don't really know why, but danger has always been an important thing in my life - to see how far I could lean without falling, how fast I could go without cracking up.

I'm a whore, all actors are whores. We sell our bodies to the highest bidder.

[on Barbara Stanwyck] Thirty-nine years ago this month, we were working in a film together called Golden Boy (1939). It wasn't going so well and I was going to be replaced. But due to this lovely human being and her encouragement and above all her generosity, I'm here tonight.

[on working with Clint Eastwood on Breezy (1973)] He's even-tempered -- a personality trait not much in evidence among directors. The crew is totally behind him and that really helps things go smoothly.

I found the jungle a beautiful and fascinating place to be, I like to come here because I want to stay away from the jungle as much as I can.

Randolph Scott said:

They have been the mainstay of the industry ever since its beginning. And they have been good to me. Westerns are a type of picture which everybody can see and enjoy. Westerns always make money. And they always increase a star's fan following.

[in 1962] All the old movies are turning up on television, and frankly, making pictures doesn't interest me too much any more.

Frankly, I don't like publicity. I always remember something that David Belasco said and had incorporated in the contracts of his stars. His theory was, "Never let yourself be seen in public unless they pay for it". To me, that makes sense. The most glamorous, the most fascinating star our business ever had was Garbo [Greta Garbo]. Why? Because she kept herself from the public. Each member of the audience had his own idea of what she was really like. But take the other stars of today. There is no mystery about them. The public knows what kind of toothpaste they use, whether they sleep in men's pajamas and every intimate fact of their lives. When I read publicity about them, I can tell just which press agent they employ


Jack Hawkins said:

"I adored it from the first moment. The excitement, the thrill, the smell of the theatre went right down to one's toes."

"Above all, I was taught to love and respect words. Each word had to be the right word; and each had to be spoken in a way that its weight and importance demanded."

"I think that no actor should take Hollywood too seriously; but at the same time it would be wrong to underestimate its professionalism. Really, Hollywood is a caricature of itself, and in particular this is true of the front-office types at the studios. Their enthusiasm towards you is measured precisely to match the success of your last film."

Jean Arthur said:

I guess I became an actress because I didn't want to be myself.

I am not an adult, that's my explanation of myself. Except when I am working on a set, I have all the inhibitions and shyness of the bashful, backward child . . . unless I have something very much in common with a person, I am lost. I am swallowed up in my own silence.

The fact that I did not marry George Bernard Shaw is the only real disappointment I've had.

[on Hollywood] I hated the place - not the work, but the lack of privacy, those terrible prying fan magazine writers and all the surrounding exploitation.

If people don't like your work, all the still pictures in the world can't help you and nothing written about you, even oceans of it, will make you popular.

(on doing interviews) Quite frankly, I'd rather have my throat slit.

I bumped into every kind of disappointment, and was frustrated at every turn. Roles promised me were given to other players, pictures that offered me a chance were shelved, no one was particularly interested in me, and I had not developed a strength of personality to make anyone believe I had special talents. I wanted so desperately to succeed that I drove myself relentlessly, taking no time off for pleasures, or for friendships - yet aiming at the stars, I was still floundering.

First I played ingénues and western heroines; then I played western heroines and ingénues. That diet of roles became as monotonous as a diet of spinach. The studio wouldn't trust me with any other kind of role, because I had no experience in any other kind. And I didn't see how I was ever going to acquire any other experience if I couldn't get any other kind of role. It was a vicious circle.

It's hardly fair for women to do the same things at the same hours every day of their lives, while men have new experiences, meet new people every day. I felt that way as a little girl, with two older brothers around the house. It seemed to me that they led adventurous lives, compared with mine. I felt cheated and frustrated. I became a tomboy in self-defense. I decided that I was going to do things that were exciting, or at least interesting.

[speaking in in the 1930s] I've never had a single close intimate girlfriend in all my life. I never had a chum to whom I could confide my secrets. I suppose that accounts for the fact that now it is so painfully difficult for me to open my heart and confide in people who are, so often, almost strangers. You have to learn so very young to open your heart.

[on her early acting days] My very "naturalness" was my undoing. I had to learn that to appear natural on the screen requires a vast amount of training, that is the test of an actor's art. It would be more spectacular if I could say that out of the hurt and humiliation of that failure was born a determination to success, to prove I had the makings of an actress. But it wouldn't be true. That urge came later.

[on her first marriage, which only lasted a day] Julian [Julian Anckner] looked a lot like Abraham Lincoln, and that's probably why I fell in love with him. One day we were out driving and he suddenly said, "Hey, why don't we get married?" So we lied about our ages and got married in a sheriff's office. You should have heard our families' reactions - all sorts of screaming and shouting and carrying on about suicide. Well, neither Julian nor I had enough income to make it possible for us to live together, so our marriage lasted one day.

[on making Only Angels Have Wings (1939)] I loved sinking my head into Cary Grant's chest."

Joseph Cotton said:

"I didn't care about the movies really. I was tall. I could talk. It was easy to do".

"Orson Welles lists Citizen Kane (1941) as his best film, Alfred Hitchcock opts for Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and Sir Carol Reed chose The Third Man (1949) - and I'm in all of them."

[on Orson Welles] "I know a little about Orson's childhood and seriously doubt if he ever was a child."

"My wife told me one of the sweetest things one could hear - 'I am not jealous. But I am truly sad for all the actresses who embrace you and kiss you while acting, for with them, you are only pretending.'"

Loretta Young said:

"Every time she 'sins,' she builds a church. That's why there are so many Catholic churches in Hollywood." - Marlene Dietrich

"Wearing the correct dress for any occasion is a matter of good manners."

"I believe that if we have lived our lives fully and well, and have accomplished, at least in part, the things we were put here to do, we will be prepared - mentally, physically and spiritually - for our separation from this world."

"Our human connections are guided by God, and ultimately all of us are linked through His love. Thus, we have all already met, not as actress and fan but as His children, and we can never be lost to each other."

"What you don't know intrigues you more than what you do know. I believed all those love stories - the hero was the hero - because that's what I grew up with. I loved the romance and the roses, but when it came to a more realistic life, I would back away."

"If you want a place in the sun, you have to expect a few blisters."

"The easiest way to crush your laurels is to lean on them."

A charming woman is a busy woman

A charming woman... doesn't follow the crowd. She is herself.

A face is like the outside of a house, and most faces, like most houses, give us an idea of what we can expect to find inside.

A face that is really lovely in repose can fall apart if, when its owner stars to talk, she distorts every feature.

A pleasant voice, which has to include clear enunciation, is not only attractive to those who hear it... its appeal is permanent.


Rosalind Russell said:

"Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly."

"Success is a public affair. Failure is a private funeral."

"At MGM there was a first wave of top stars, and a second wave to replace them in case they got difficult. I was second in line of deference, behind Myrna Loy."

"Flops are part of a life's menu and I've never been a girl to miss out on any of the courses."

"In all those types of films I wore a tan suit, a grey suit, a beige suit and then a negligee for the seventh reel near the end when I would admit to my best friend on the telephone that what I really wanted was to become a little housewife."

"Taste. You cannot buy such a rare and wonderful thing. You can't send away for it in a catalogue. And I'm afraid it's becoming obsolete."

"Taking joy in life is a woman's best cosmetic."

Irene Dunne Said:

"No triumph of either my stage or screen career has ever rivaled the excitement of trips down the Mississippi on the river boats with my father."

"[Comedy] demands more timing, pace, shading and subtlety of emphasis. It is difficult to learn but once it is acquired it can be easily slowed down and becomes an excellent foundation for dramatic acting."

"Whenever I have to weep for the cameras, I prefer to cry real tears..., provided I have enough time to recover my emotions before I make the 'take'. But if I have to do another and greatly different scene afterward...it frequently is easier on my emotions just to put glycerine or some other tear substitute in my eyes."

"When we have learned to love our neighbor, not just ourselves, no matter where we come from, then America will be perfect."

"Trying to build the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God is like having the spokes of a wheel without the hub."

"I don't know why the public took a liking me so fast. Popularity is a curious thing. The public responds to a dimple, a smile, a giggle, a hairstyle, an attitude. Acting talent has less to do with it than personality."

"I appeared with many leading men. But working with Cary Grant was different from working with other actors - he was much more fun! I think we were a successful team because we enjoyed working together tremendously, and that pleasure must have shown through onto the screen ... I will always remember two compliments he made me. He said I had perfect timing in comedy and that I was the sweetest-smelling actress he ever worked with."

"I love beautiful things, but a woman who considers herself best dressed usually spends all of her time at it."

James Garner Said:

"About everything I ever have done, in the way of lawsuits against studios, I've won them all, because I was right every time."


"Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you'd be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist."

[Asked if he would ever do a nude scene] "I don't do horror films."

"They really stuck it to me. I was young and dumb. I said a couple things about being under contract that they didn't like, like that I felt like a ham in a smokehouse. They were waiting to get back at me by laying me off. We went to court and got out of my contract. I didn't want somebody in an office guiding my career. If I had a failure, I wanted it to be my failure. If I had a success, I wanted it to be my success." [on his conflicts with Warner Brothers, in relation to his contractual obligations to the "Bret Maverick" (1981) TV series]

"I'm a Spencer Tracy-type actor. His idea was to be on time, know your words, hit your marks and tell the truth. Most every actor tries to make it something it isn't [or] looks for the easy way out. I don't think acting is that difficult if you can put yourself aside and do what the writer wrote."

"I don't like to speak in public. It scares the devil out of me."

"I got into the business to put a roof over my head. I wasn't looking for star status. I just wanted to keep working."

"I came from Oklahoma. I was born and raised in the Depression. Now, you want to put some pressure on somebody, well, live through the Depression. In Oklahoma. In the dust. And then the flood followed... So studio executives don't bother me at all."

Joan Hackett Said:

She always loved to sleep, and her tombstone carries an admonition not to wake her while she's getting her beauty sleep; "Go Away - I'm Asleep"


Ann Todd said:

"I don't really consider myself an actress. I don't think I ever act. The parts I have played in my career that have come off best have usually been a continuation of myself."


James Mason said:

"How do I wish to be remembered, if at all? I think perhaps just as a fairly desirable sort of character actor."

"I'm a character actor: the public never knows what it's getting by way of a Mason performance from one film to the next. I therefore represent thoroughly insecure investment."

Greta Garbo said:

"There is no one who would have me...I can't cook."

"Being a movie star, and this applies to all of them, means being looked at from every possible direction. You are never left at peace, you're just fair game."

"You don't have to be married to have a good friend as your partner for life."

"I wish I were supernaturally strong so I could put right everything that is wrong."

"Life would be so wonderful if we only knew what to do with it."

"Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening."

"I never said, 'I want to be alone.' I only said, 'I want to be left alone.' There is a whole world of difference."

"I don't want to be a silly temptress. I cannot see any sense in getting dressed up and doing nothing but tempting men in pictures."

"The story of my life is about back entrances, side doors, secrets elevators and other ways of getting in and out of places so that people won't bother me."

"If only those who dream about Hollywood knew how difficult it all is."

"Your joys and sorrows. You can never tell them. You cheapen the inside of yourself if you do." "There are some who want to get married and others who don't. I have never had an impulse to go to the altar. I am a difficult person to lead."

[When asked in her later years by a fan if she is Greta Garbo]: "I * was* Greta Garbo."

"Gimme a whiskey with ginger ale on the side and don't be stingy, baby." -- Garbo's classic opening line from her very first talking film "Anna Christie"

"If you're going to die on screen, you've got to be strong and in good health."

"There are many things in your heart you can never tell another person. They are you, your private joys and sorrows, and you can never tell them. You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself, when you tell them."

"What, when drunk, one sees in other women, one sees in Garbo sober."

"I live like a monk: with one toothbrush, one cake of soap, and a pot of cream."

Sidney (Charlie Chan II) Toler did:

He and wife Viva Tattersall co-wrote a Broadway play entitled "Ritzy" in 1930, years before they married. Toler also directed.


 Basil Rathbone said:

"When you become the character you portray, it's the end of your career as an actor."

"Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection; nothing is lost that is born of the heart."


Ann Sheridan said:

"I used to go to Grauman's Chinese or Pantages and sit there waiting to see my faceless body on the screen. Texas began to look awfully near and awfully good, and 'Clara Lou' had a sweet sound to my ears."

"I can whistle through my fingers, bulldog a steer, light a fire with two sticks, shoot a pistol with fair accuracy, set type, and teach school..."

"They nicknamed me the Oomph Girl, and I loathe that nickname! Just being known by a nickname indicates that you're not thought of as a true actress....It's just crap! If you call an actress by her looks or a reaction, then that's all she'll ever be thought of as."

Gene Kelly said:

"I wasn't nice to Debbie. It's a wonder she still speaks to me." - On his working experience with Debbie Reynolds while filming Singin' in the Rain (1952)

"There was no model for what I tried to do with dance...And the thing Fred Astaire and I used to bitch about was that critics didn't know how to categorize us. They called us tap dancers because that was considered the American style. But neither of us were basically tap dancers."

The contract system at Hollywood studios like MGM "was a very efficient system in that because we were at the studio all the time we could rehearse a lot. But it also really repressed people. There were no union regulations yet and we were all indentured servants -- you can call us slaves if you want -- like ball players before free agency. We had seven-year contracts but every six months the studio could decide to fire you if your picture wasn't a hit. And if you turned down a role, they cut off your salary and simply added the time to your contract."

"Kids talk to me and say they want to do musicals again because they've studied the tapes of the old films. We didn't have that. We thought once we had made it, even on film, it was gone except for the archives."

"I arrived in Hollywood twenty pounds overweight and as strong as an ox. But if I put on a white tails and tux like Astaire, I still looked like a truck driver".

"If Fred Astaire is the Cary Grant of dance, I'm the Marlon Brando".

"I never wanted to be a dancer. It's true! I wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates."

"Fred Astaire represented the aristocracy, I represented the proletariat."

"There is a strange sort of reasoning in Hollywood that musicals are less worthy of Academy consideration than dramas. It's a form of snobbism, the same sort that perpetuates the idea that drama is more deserving of Awards than comedy."

"I took it as it came and it happened to be very nice."

Claire Trevor said:

"Using one's imagination to the fullest is necessary for a happy life."

"Don't fall in love with your leading man. Of course, that's just what I did."

"I don't know what they call Hollywood anymore. The whole meaning of the town has changed."

"What a holler would ensue if people had to pay the minister as much to marry them as they have to pay a lawyer to get them a divorce."


Glenn Ford said:

"When I'm on camera, I have to do things pretty much the way I do things in everyday life. It gives the audience someone real to identify with."

"People laugh when I say I'm not an actor, but I'm not, I play myself."

"The Western is a man's world and I love it."

"I've never played anyone but myself on screen."

"If they tried to rush me, I'd always say I've only got one other speed, and it's slower."


Mary Astor said:

"A painter paints, a musician plays, a writer writes - but a movie actor waits."

"I was never totally involved in movies. I was just making my father's dream come true."

"It's not good to make sentimental journeys. You see the differences instesd of the sameness."

"I was as two-dimensional as the screen itself: cool, indifferent, looking lovely in close ups. Period. Period. Period. When was I ever going to learn to act? You can't learn if you can't experiment and find out what works and doesn't work. But the hours are long, the schedule rigid, so I did what I was told and saved time and money for the front office. And got a lot of jobs that way."

"Once you start asking questions, innocence is gone."

"A person without memory is either a child or an amnesiac. A country without memory is neither a child nor an amnesiac, but neither is it a country."

"George S. Kaufman was the kind of man I'd go over a cliff for."

"There are five stages in the life of an actor: Who's Mary Astor? Get me Mary Astor. Get me a Mary Astor Type. Get me a young Mary Astor. Who's Mary Astor?"

"At Metro, you practically had to go to the front office if you wanted something as real as having your hair mussed. . . All automobiles were shiny, a picture never hung crooked, a door never squeaked, stocking seams were always straight and no actress ever had a shiny nose."


Ben Johnson said:

"Everybody in town's a better actor than I am, but none of them can play Ben Johnson."


"You know, I'd say that aside from Mr. Ford's help in my career, I'd lay any success I've had to not expecting too much. I never expected to become a star and was always content to stay two or three rungs down the ladder and last awhile. When I do get a little ahead, I see what I can do to help others."

[On leaving Oklahoma for Hollywood, where he became a horse wrangler for Howard Hawks on "The Outlaw" (1943)] "I'd been making a dollar a day as a cowboy, and my first check in Hollywood was for $300. After that, you couldn't have driven me back to Oklahoma with a club."

Wallace Berry said:

"I never let anyone sucker me, not even for a nickel."

"Like my dear old friend Marie Dressler, my ugly mug has been my fortune."


Gene Kelly said:

"I wasn't nice to Debbie. It's a wonder she still speaks to me." - On his working experience with Debbie Reynolds while filming Singin' in the Rain (1952) (1952)

"There was no model for what I tried to do with dance...And the thing Fred Astaire and I used to bitch about was that critics didn't know how to categorize us. They called us tap dancers because that was considered the American style. But neither of us were basically tap dancers."

The contract system at Hollywood studios like MGM "was a very efficient system in that because we were at the studio all the time we could rehearse a lot. But it also really repressed people. There were no union regulations yet and we were all indentured servants -- you can call us slaves if you want -- like ball players before free agency. We had seven-year contracts but every six months the studio could decide to fire you if your picture wasn't a hit. And if you turned down a role, they cut off your salary and simply added the time to your contract."

"Kids talk to me and say they want to do musicals again because they've studied the tapes of the old films. We didn't have that. We thought once we had made it, even on film, it was gone except for the archives."

"I arrived in Hollywood twenty pounds overweight and as strong as an ox. But if I put on a white tails and tux like Astaire, I still looked like a truck driver".

"If Fred Astaire is the Cary Grant of dance, I'm the Marlon Brando".

"I never wanted to be a dancer. It's true! I wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburg Pirates."

"Fred Astaire represented the aristocracy, I represented the proletariat."

"There is a strange sort of reasoning in Hollywood that musicals are less worthy of Academy consideration than dramas. It's a form of snobbism, the same sort that perpetuates the idea that drama is more deserving of Awards than comedy."

"I took it as it came and it happened to be very nice."


Alan Ladd said:

"I have the face of an ageing choirboy and the build of an undernourished featherweight. If you can figure out my success on the screen you're a better man than I."


Suzy Parker said::

"I believe in the gold standard. I like solid lumps of things. You can always melt them down." - referring to her high-paying model status.


"I never starved myself either. I remember all the models eating raw hamburgers and living on codeine to keep up their energy. You never met a skinnier, meaner bunch of people."


Otto Kruger performed:

Otto Kruger played piano excerpts of the "Liebestod" from Richard Wagner's opera "Tristan und Isolde" (1865).


Robert Taylor said:

"Acting is the easiest job in the world, and I'm the luckiest guy. All I have to do is be at the studio on time, and know my lines. The wardrobe department tells me what to wear, the assistant director tells me where to go, the director tells me what to do. What could be easier?"


Richard Widmark said:

"The heavies in my day were kid's stuff compared to today. Our villains had no redeeming qualities. But there's a new morality today. A villain is a guy with a frailty. Heroes are villains."


"The more takes I do, the worse I get."


William Holden said:

"For me, acting is not an all-consuming thing, except for the moment when I am actually doing it."

"Take any picture you can. One out of four will be good, one out of ten will be very good, and one out of fifteen will get you an Academy Award."

"Movie acting may not have a certain kind of glory as true art, but it is damn hard work."

"I don't really know why, but danger has always been an important thing in my life - to see how far I could lean without falling, how fast I could go without cracking up."


Ingrid Bergman said:

"The best way to keep young is to keep going in whatever it is that keeps you going. With me that's work, and a lot of it. And when a job is finished, relax and have fun."

"I've gone from saint to whore and back to saint again, all in one lifetime."

To her daughter Isabella Rossellini, on acting: "Keep it simple. Make a blank face and the music and the story will fill it in."

"The minute I looked at her, I knew I had something. She had an extraordinary quality of purity and nobility and a definite star personality that is very rare." - David O. Selznick

"People didn't expect me to have emotion like other women."

"I've never sought success in order to get fame and money; it's the talent and the passion that count in success."

"I remember one day sitting at the pool and suddenly the tears were streaming down my cheeks. Why was I so unhappy? I had success. I had security. But it wasn't enough. I was exploding inside."

"I have no regrets. I wouldn't have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say."

"If a face like Ingrid Bergman's looks at you as though you're adorable, everybody does. You don't have to act very much." - Humphrey Bogart

"Until 45 I can play a woman in love. After 55 I can play grandmothers. But between those ten years, it is difficult for an actress."

"I don't regret a thing I've done. I only regret the things I didn't do."

"Oh, but she's a woman's woman. I mean, she is everything a woman should be. She's the kind of woman men aren't afraid of because she's so warm. She has a real quality. It's too bad she isn't queen of some country." - Goldie Hawn

"Happiness is good health and a bad memory."

"I don't worry about it because we are all growing old. If I were the only one I would worry. But we're all in the same boat, and all of my friends are coming with me. We all go toward old age. How many years left we don't know. We just have to accept it."

"Time is shortening. But every day that I challenge this cancer and survive is a victory for me."

"I was the shyest human ever invented, but I had a lion inside me that wouldn't shut up".

"In Paris, when the picture came out (Casablanca) they weren't too pleased with it. They didn't like the political point of view. The picture was taken off immediately and was never sold to television. A while ago it was brought in and opened in five theatres in Paris, as a new movie. They had a big gala opening where I appeared and people were absolutely crazy about it".

You must train your intuition - you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide.

Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.

It is not whether you really cry. It's whether the audience thinks you are crying.

"There are advantages to being a star though - you can always get a table in a full restaurant."

"I always felt guilty. My whole life."

"I don't think anyone has the right to intrude in your life, but they do. I would like people to separate the actress and the woman".

"I can do everything with ease on the stage, whereas in real life I feel too big and clumsy. So I didn't choose acting; acting chose me."

"I have grown up alone. I've taken care of myself. I worked, earned money and was independent at 18."

"I have had my different husbands, my families. I am fond of them all and I visit them all. But deep inside me there is the feeling that I belong to show business."

"I made so many films which were more important, but the only one people ever want to talk about is that one with Bogart."

"Having a home, husband, and child ought to be enough for any woman's life. I mean, that's what we are meant for, isn't it? But still I think every day is a lost day. As if only half of me is alive. The other half is pressed down in a bag and suffocated."

"If you took acting away from me, I'd stop breathing."

"Acting is the best medicine in the world - if you're not feeling well, it goes away because you are busy thinking about something that isn't yourself. We actors are very fortunate people."

"Cancer victims who don't accept their fate, who don't learn to live with it, will only destroy what little time they have left."


Patricia Heation said:

"My favorite body part? My feet.They're not pretty but they get me where I want to go."


Robert Montgomery said:

"If you are lucky enough to be a sucess, by all means enjoy the applause and the adulation of the public. But never, never believe it."


Victor McLaglen said:

"Acting never appealed to me, and I was dabbling in it solely as a means of making money. I rather felt that the grease paint business was somewhat beneath a man who was once a reasonably useful boxer."


Gail Russell said:

"I was possessed with an agonizing kind of self-consciousness where I felt my insides tightening into a knot, where my face and hands grew clammy, where I couldn't open my mouth, where I felt impelled to turn and run if I had to meet new people. When my parents had guests, I would run, get under the piano and hide there."

"Everything happened so fast. I was a sad character. I was sad because of myself. I didn't have any self-confidence. I didn't believe I had any talent. I didn't know how to have fun. I was afraid. I don't exactly know of what - of life, I guess."


Marjorie Reynolds said:

"It doesn't overly concern me if I don't become a super star. There are more important things for a successful, happy life and career, such as being pleasant, amiable and a decent human being."


Doris Day said:

"The happiest times in my life were the days when I was traveling with Les (Brown) and his band."

"Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty."

"Some of the downbeat pictures, in my opinion, should never be made at all. Most of them are made for personal satisfaction, to impress other actors who say 'Oh, God! what a shot, what camera work!' But the average person in the audience, who bought his ticket to be entertained, doesn't see that at all. He comes out depressed."

"I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that's all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy."

"Learning a part was like acting out the lyrics of a song."

[About recording "Secret Love"]  When I first heard "Secret Love" I almost fainted, it was so beautiful. When we finally got around to doing the pre-recording, Ray Heindorf, the musical director at Warner's, said he'd get the musicians in about 12:30 so they could rehearse. That morning I did my vocal warm-up, then jumped on my bike and rode over to Warner's - we lived in Toluca Lake at the time, which was just minutes from the studio. When I got there I sang the song with the orchestra for the first time. When I'd finished, Ray called me into the sound booth, grinning from ear to ear, and said, "That's it. You're never going to do it better." That was the first and only take we did.

[Comments about Julie (1956)]: "Almost all of Julie was shot on location in Carmel, which is a lovely resort town a little south of San Francisco. My co-star was Louis Jourdan, whom I liked very much. An amiable man, very gentle, very much interested in the people around him; we had a good rapport and I found talking to him a joy .... We would take long walks on the beautiful Carmel beach, chatting by the hour."


Clark Gable said:

"The only reason they come to see me is that I know that life is great -- and they know I know it."


"I worked like a son of a bitch to learn a few tricks and I fight like a steer to avoid getting stuck with parts I can't play."


"All this 'King' stuff is pure b------t. I eat and sleep and go to the bathroom just like anyone else."


"Working with Marilyn Monroe on 'The Misfits' nearly gave me a heart attack. I have never been happier when a film ended."


"I'm just a lucky slob who happened to be in the right place at the right time."


"The Misfits is the best picture I have made, and it's the only time I've been able to act."


Burt Lancaster said:

"Most people seem to think I'm the kind of guy who shaves with a blowtorch. Actually I'm bookish and worrisome."

[Being a director] "It's the best job in the picture business because when you're a director, you're God. And you know that's the best job in town."

"Life is to be lived within the limits of your knowledge and within the concept of what you would like to see yourself to be."

"Tits and sand - that's what we used to call sex and violence in Hollywood."

"I don't know why Airport (1970) was nominated for any Oscars - it's the biggest piece of junk ever."

"We're all forgotten sooner or later. But not films. That's all the memorial we should need or hope for."

"I woke up one day a star. It was terrifying. Then I worked hard toward becoming a good actor."

[Advice in (1972)] "You try to please the director, and the cameraman and the soundman, and you're acting and acting and acting and by the time you come to your close-up, you've shot your wad. It's like making love to a woman: you can't try to come all at once, son. A bit of a tit here, a bit of an inner thigh there, and you have a performance!"


John Ford said:

"I love making pictures but I don't like talking about them."

"Anybody can direct a picture once they know the fundamentals. Directing is not a mystery, it's not an art. The main thing about directing is: photograph the people's eyes."

"It is easier to get an actor to be a cowboy than to get a cowboy to be an actor."

"It's no use talking to me about art, I make pictures to pay the rent."

"I didn't show up at the ceremony to collect any of my first three Oscars. Once I went fishing, another time there was a war on, and on another occasion, I remember, I was suddenly taken drunk."

"For a director there are commercial rules that it is necessary to obey. In our profession, an artistic failure is nothing; a commercial failure is a sentence. The secret is to make films that please the public and also allow the director to reveal his personality."

[About John Wayne] "Duke is the best actor in Hollywood."


Harrison Ford said:

"I don't use any particular method. I'm from the lets-pretend school of acting."

"I used to shake my head, as in "No, I just look like him." But that's not fair. So I said to those little old ladies at Trenton airport, "Yes, I am Harrison Ford". And they still didn't believe it was me."

"I don't do stunts - I do running, jumping and falling down. After 25 years I know exactly what I'm doing."

"I don't think I've mastered anything. I'm still wrestling with the same frustrations, the same issues, the same problems as I always did. That's what life is like."

"You know you are getting old when all the names in your black book have MD after them."

"I think I did have a reputation for being grumpy. I don't think I'm grumpy. I have opinions. I have an independent vision. I am a purposeful person. But on a daily basis, I think I'm other than grumpy. I think it is a case where I am coming to do business and not there just to be flattered and cajoled and used."

"The loss of anonymity is something that nobody can prepare you for. When it happened, I recognized that I'd lost one of the most valuable things in life. To this day, I'm not all that happy about it."

"Once a film is finished, it's over for me. I'm on to something else."

"I started by chasing a Folger's commercial. But I just somehow couldn't manage to say, 'Honey, that's a great cup of coffee.'"

"I had no expectation of the level of adulation that would come my way. I just wanted to make a living with a regular role in a television series."

"Different clothes, different character. That's how I feel about it."

"Starring in a science fiction film doesn't mean you have to act science fiction."

"Whoever had the bright idea of putting Indiana Jones in a leather jacket and a fedora in the jungle ought to be dragged into the street and shot."

"Indiana Jones is always getting in way over his head and just barely getting out by the skin of his teeth."

"I am not the first man who wanted to make changes in his life at 60 and I won't be the last. It is just that others can do it with anonymity. I was interested in changing my life. I have always had the ability to change and become other people through my acting. I took a good look at myself and decided I wanted something different from the way I was living. That's not such a bad thing, is it? But, because of my past, I think it took a lot of people by surprise. They wondered what was happening to me. I was very much aware of what was happening. I'm living the way I want to live."


Kim Novak said:

"The head of publicity of the Hollywood studio where I was first under contract told me: You're a piece of meat, that's all. It wasn't very nice but I had to take it. When I made my first screen test, the director explained to everyone: Don't listen to her, just look.


John Wayne said:

"I never trust a man that doesn't drink."

"When people say a John Wayne picture got bad reviews, I always wonder if they know it's a redundant sentence, (but) hell, I don't care. People like my pictures and that's all that counts."

"I would like to be remembered, well...the Mexicans have a phrase, 'Feo fuerte y formal'. Which means; he was ugly, strong and had dignity." (Time Magazine interview, 1969)

"If I'd known this was all it would take, I'd have put that eyepatch on 40 years ago." - Upon accepting his Oscar for True Grit. (1969).

[Of Native Americans:] "I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."

"When I started, I knew I was no actor and I went to work on this Wayne thing. It was as deliberate a projection as you'll ever see. I figured I needed a gimmick, so I dreamed up the drawl, the squint and a way of moving meant to suggest that I wasn't looking for trouble but would just as soon throw a bottle at your head as not. I practiced in front of a mirror."

On being asked about his "phony hair" at Harvard in 1974, "It's not phony. It's real hair. Of course, it's not mine, but it's real."

"God-damn, I'm the stuff men are made of!"

"Courage is being scared to death - and saddling up anyway."

"I stick to simple themes. Love. Hate. No nuances. I stay away from psychoanalyst's couch scenes. Couches are good for one thing."

"Every country in the world loved the folklore of the West - the music, the dress, the excitement, everything that was associated with the opening of a new territory. It took everybody out of their own little world. The cowboy lasted a hundred years, created more songs and prose and poetry than any other folk figure. The closest thing was the Japanese samurai. Now, I wonder who'll continue it."

"Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be. I was proud when President Nixon ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor, which we should have done long ago, because I think we're helping a brave little country defend herself against Communist invasion. That's what I tried to show in The Green Berets and I took plenty of abuse from the critics."

"I am a demonstrative man, a baby picker-upper, a hugger and a kisser - that's my nature."

"I don't act...... I react."

"There's been a lot of stories about how I got to be called Duke. Hell, the truth is that I was named after a dog!"

"Westerns are closer to art than anything else in the motion picture business"

"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."

"I don't think a fella should be able to sit on his backside and receive welfare. I'd like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living."

"I want to play a real man in all my films, and I define manhood simply: men should be tough, fair, and courageous, never petty, never looking for a fight, but never backing down from one either."

"You can't whine and bellyache because somebody else got a good break and you didn't."

"Very few of the so-called liberals are open-minded. . . . They shout you down and won't let you speak if you disagree with them"

"High Noon (1952) was the most un-American thing I have ever seen in my whole life. The last thing in the picture is ole Coop putting the United States marshal's badge under his foot and stepping on it. I'll never regret having run [Carl] Foreman out of this country."

"I play John Wayne in pretty much every film I do, and I've done pretty well so far, haven't I?"

"God, how I hate solemn funerals. When I die, take me into a room and burn me. Then my family and a few good friends should get together, have a few good belts, and talk about the crazy old time we all had together."

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them."


Errol Flynn said:

"You once liked the blissful mobility, but then you wonder, who's the you? And who's the chap on the screen? You know, I catch myself acting out my life like a goddamn script."


"They've great respect for the dead in Hollywood, but none for the living."


"I do what I like."


"I like my whisky old and my women young."


"I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it."


"I can't reconcile my gross habits with my net income."


"I intend to live the first half of my life. I don't care about the rest."


"The public has always expected me to be a playboy, and a decent chap never lets his public down."


"It isn't what they say about you, it's what they whisper."


Shirley Temple said:

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph."

Gertrude Temple's advice to her daughter before each scene: "Sparkle, Shirley, sparkle!"

"Any star can be devoured by human adoration, sparkle by sparkle."

"One famous movie executive who shall remain nameless, exposed himself to me in his office. 'Mr. X,' I said, 'I thought you were a producer not an exhibitor'."


She calls it corny but she admitted that she fell in love with Charles Black at first sight. They met while she was in Honolulu. He was working for a shipping company there at the time.

Presented Walt Disney with his special Academy Award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). It was a standard sized Oscar with seven little Oscars.

Says that she stopped believing in Santa Claus when she went to a department store to have her picture taken with him, and he asked for her autograph.

As a child Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was her idol, she got to work with him on four different pictures.

At the age of 6, she was the youngest presenter at the Oscars ever. She presented the "Best Actress" award in 1935. The winner was Claudette Colbert.


Broke her wrist in a fall at her North California home [November 1, 2006].


Esther Williams said:

"I was called America's mermaid, because it appeared that I could stay underwater indefinitely"

"All they ever did for me at MGM was change my leading man and the water in my pool."

"I ad-libbed all my own underwater movements."

I don't know to this day how I managed to fit into those bathing suits when I was pregnant, but I did."

"The popular Andy Hardy series movies were MGM's tests for its promising stars such as Judy Garland, Lana Turner and Donna Reed. If you didn't make it in those pictures, you were never heard from again."

"I was just a swimmer who got lucky."


Robert Mitchum said:

"The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail."

"I gave up being serious about making pictures around the time I made a film with Greer Garson and she took 125 takes to say no."

"I started out to be a sex fiend but couldn't pass the physical."

"Movies bore me; especially my own."

"I've still got the same attitude I had when I started. I haven't changed anything but my underwear."

Charles Laughton: "All the tough talk is a blind. He is a literate, gracious, kind man with wonderful manners and he speaks beautifully - when he wants to. He would make the best Macbeth of any actor living."

John Huston: "He is a rarity among actors, hard-working, noncomplaining, amazingly perceptive, one of the most shockingly underrated stars in business."

Fred Zinneman: "He is one of the finest instinctive actors in the business, almost in the same class as Spencer Tracy."

David Lean: "Mitchum can, simply by being there, make almost any other actor look like a hole in the screen."

"Listen. I got three expressions: looking left, looking right and looking straight ahead." (on his acting talents)

"People think I have an interesting walk. Hell, I'm just trying to hold my gut in."

(of the press stories) "They're all true - booze, brawls, broads, all true. Make up some more if you want to."

"When I drop dead and they rush to the drawer, there's going to be nothing in it but a note saying 'later'."

Vincent Price: "He writes his poetry and his songs and tells his stories - some true, some not. It doesn't matter, because they're all funny. But he is a complete anachronism. He claims he doesn't care about acting, but he's an extraordinary actor. He's one of that group in Hollywood who are such extraordinary personalities that people forget they're marvelous actors."

"I never take any notice of reviews — unless a critic has thought up some new way of describing me. That old one about my lizard eyes and anteater nose and the way I sleep my way through pictures is so hackneyed now."

Years ago, I saved up a million dollars from acting, a lot of money in those days, and I spent it all on a horse farm in Tucson. Now when I go down there, I look at that place and I realize my whole acting career adds up to a million dollars worth of horseshit.

I have two acting styles: with and without a horse.

Every two or three years, I knock off for a while. That way I'm always the new girl in the whorehouse.

"I never changed anything, except my socks and my underwear. And I never did anything to glorify myself or improve my lot. I took what came and did the best I could with it."

When Mitchum, who served time for marijuana possession, was asked what it was like in jail, he replied, "It's like Palm Springs without the riff-raff."


Norma Shearer said:

"Scarlett O'Hara is going to be a thankless and difficult role. The part I'd like to play is Rhett Butler."


Gregory Peck said:

"You made the right choice, kiddo!" - Peck's tongue-in-cheek response when he discovered that his second wife, the French journalist Veronique Passani, had passed up an opportunity to interview Albert Schweitzer at a lunch hosted by 'Jean Paul Sartre' in order to go out on a date with Peck.


[Of winning the Oscar for best Male Actor]  "I put everything I had into it - all my feelings and everything I'd learned in 46 years of living, about family life and fathers and children. And my feelings about racial justice and inequality and opportunity."


"They say the bad guys are more interesting to play but there is more to it than that - playing the good guys is more challenging because it's harder to make them interesting."


"I just do things I really enjoy. I enjoy acting. When I'm driving to the studio, I sing in the car. I love my work and my wife and my kids and my friends. And I think, 'You're a lucky man, Gregory Peck, a damn lucky man.'"


Claudette Colbert said:

"Most of us don't know about happiness until it's over."


"I've always believed that acting is instinct to start with; you either have it or you don't."

"Audiences always sound like they're glad to see me, and I'm damned glad to see them. If they want you, you want to do it."

"I know what's best for me, after all I have been in the Claudette Colbert business longer than anybody."

In response to an invitation to write an autobiography - "Books written by actresses are for the birds. Besides what would I write?...that somebody was looking for an Italian type to play the ingénue in a film and I might do?"

"Why do grandparents and grandchildren get along so well? They have the same enemy - the mother."


William Holden Said:

"For me, acting is not an all-consuming thing, except for the moment when I am actually doing it."

"Take any picture you can. One out of four will be good, one out of ten will be very good, and one out of fifteen will get you an Academy Award."

"Movie acting may not have a certain kind of glory as true art, but it is damn hard work."

"I don't really know why, but danger has always been an important thing in my life - to see how far I could lean without falling, how fast I could go without cracking up."


Raymond Milland said:

[Of Louella Parsons] "She never forgot a thing and, by the same token, never forgave anyone who crossed her. But she was never vicious."


[Of Hedda Hopper] "She was venomous, vicious, a pathological liar, and quite stupid."


Greer Garson said:

"All I know about getting something that you want is that there are three essential things: wanting, trying and getting the opportunity, the breaks. None works alone without the others. Wanting is basic. Trying is up to you. And the breaks - I do know this, they always happen."

"I think the mirror should be tilted slightly upward when it's reflecting life -- toward the cheerful, the tender, the compassionate, the brave, the funny, the encouraging, all those things -- and not tilted down to the gutter part of the time, into the troubled vistas of conflict."  (1990 interview on how she disliked violence in the movies of the day.)


Gary Cooper said:

"People ask me how come you've been around so long. Well, it's through playing the part of Mr. Average Joe American."

"I haven't read a half a dozen books in my life." (1931)

"I feel very strongly that actors haven't any business at all to shoot their faces off about things I know we know very little about."


Ginger Rogers said:

"I'm most grateful to have had that joyous time in motion pictures. It really was a Golden Age of Hollywood. Pictures were talking, they were singing, they were coloring. It was beginning to blossom out: bud and blossom were both present."

'They're not going to get my money to see the junk that's made today' (1983)

"The most important thing in anyone's life is to be giving something. The quality I can give is fun, joy and happiness. This is my gift."

"It was tough being a woman in the theatrical business in those days."

"I don't care what the critics say. My fabulous mom will give me a good review if nobody else does."

[Of Fred Astaire] "We had fun and it shows. True, we were never bosom buddies off the screen; we were different people with different interests. We were only a couple on film."

[Of working with Katharine Hepburn] "She is snippy you know, which is a shame. She was never on my side."


Red Skelton said:

"My mother told me something I've never forgotten: 'Don't take life too seriously, son, you don't come out of it alive anyway."

"All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner."

"It just goes to show you if you give the people want they want, they'll come out to see it."

"I think most of today's comedians are victims of laughter...they get nervous and resort to an insult or a four-letter word for a quick, cheap laugh. That goes on night after night until the whole act is cheapened. But that doesn't last. Usually, a couple of years later they are remembered only as the old what's-his-name who used all the dirty words."


Henry Fonda said:

"I don't want to just sell war bonds. I want to be a sailor."

"I'm not that pristine pure, I guess I've broken as many rules as the next feller. But I reckon my face looks honest enough and if people buy it, Hallelujah."

"I hope you won't be disappointed. You see I am not a very interesting person. I haven't ever done anything except be other people. I ain't really Henry Fonda! Nobody could be. Nobody could have that much integrity."

"I guess I go overboard to avoid taking credit for the image I have. That's why it's easier to live with myself. I don't feel I'm totally a man of integrity."

"If there is something in my eyes, a kind of honesty in the face, then I guess you could say that's the man I'd like to be, the man I want to be."

"I look like my father. To this day, when I walk past a mirror and see my reflection in it, my first impression is: That's my father. There is a strong Fonda look."


James Steward said:

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing a Jimmy Stewart imitation myself.

"I'd like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said." (in 1983)

"There ought to be a law against any man who doesn't want to marry Myrna Loy."


Shirley Jones said:

"After I won the Oscar, my salary doubled, my friends tripled, my children became more popular at school, my butcher made a pass at me, and my maid hit me up for a raise."

"Jack had a breakdown. A real mental breakdown. He was manic depressive. But he was the one that wanted the divorce. He thought it was better for me and the kids. I never did. I would have hung in there. I felt in many ways he was acting strangely and doing strange things and he felt perhaps it was better for all of us." - on the end of her marriage to Jack Cassidy

"You don't throw away 27 years. You just don't." - on why she withdrew her divorce petition against Marty Ingels.


Joan Crawford said:

"I need sex for a clear complexion, but I'd rather do it for love."


"If you want to see the girl next door, go next door"


"[Of The Women (1939)] Norma Shearer made me change my costume sixteen times because every one was prettier than hers. I love to play bitches and she _helped_ me in this part."


"If you have an ounce of common sense and one good friend you don't need an analyst."


"If you start watching the oldies, you're in trouble. I feel ancient if Grand Hotel (1932) or The Bride Wore Red (1937) comes on. I have a sneaking regard for _Mildred Pierce (1945)_ , but the others do nothing for me."


"They were all terrible, even the few I thought might be good. I made them because I needed the money or because I was bored or both. I hope they have been exhibited and withdrawn and are never heard from again." - regarding her films that followed "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?"


Jennifer Connelly said:

"Acting is great. When it works it is so fulfilling. You do the research and work with other talented people who are creative and compassionate and use all your faculties. The ability to express yourself completely is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Each film is a chapter in my life wherein I learn so much more about myself."

"I so much enjoy being able to completely allow myself to be consumed by a role, and really grow in the process, once you've done that, it's hard to go back working on things you don't care about.


James Cagney said:

"There's not much to say about acting but this. Never settle back on your heels. Never relax. If you relax, the audience relaxes. And always mean everything you say."

"All I try to do is to realize the man I'm playing fully, then put as much into my acting as I know how. To do it, I draw upon all that I've ever known, heard, seen or remember."

"My biggest concern is that doing a rough-and-tumble scene I might hurt someone accidentally."

"They need you. Without you, they have an empty screen. So, when you get on there, just do what you think is right and stick with it."

"Where I come from, if there's a buck to be made, you don't ask questions, you go ahead and make it."

"With me, a career was the simple matter of putting groceries on the table."

"Once a song and dance man, always a song and dance man. Those few words tell as much about me professionally as there is to tell."

"I hate the word "superstar". I have never been able to think in those terms. They are overstatements. You don't hear them speak of Shakespeare as a superpoet. You don't hear them call Michelangelo a superpainter. They only apply the word to this mundane market."