see also:



















A good actor must never be in love with anyone but himself.
--Jean [-Marie-Lucien-Pierre] Anouilh (1910—1987)
French playwright.
In Connie Robertson
_The Wordsworth Dictionary of Quotations_, p. 15 [1998].

For an actress to be a success she must have
the face of Venus, the brains of Minerva, the
grace of Terpsichore, the memory of Macaulay,
the figure of Juno, and the hide of a rhinoceros.
--Ethel Barrymore (1879—1959)
American actress of the Barrymore family.
Quoted in George Jean Nathan
_The Theater in the Fifties_ [1953].

One of my chief regrets during my years in
the theater is that I couldn't sit in the
audience and watch me.
--John Barrymore (John Sidney Blythe)
(1882—1942) Shakespearean actor.

Acting is an empty and useless profession.
--Marlon Brando (1924—2004)
Oscar-winning American actor.

The most important thing in acting is
honesty: if you can fake that, you've
got it made.
--George Burns [Nathan Birnbaum] (1896—1996)
American comedian.


Richard Burton (1925—1984)
British stage and screen actor.

During the filming of "The Assasination of Trotsky," Burton was playing a scene
with French actor Alain Delon. Delon, as the nervous killer, was swinging an
ice ax around; at one point the ax came dangerously close to Burton's head.
'You'd better be careful how you handle that ax,' cried Burton. 'There are
plenty of French actors around, but if you kill me, there goes one-sixth of all
the Welsh actors in the world.'

--_Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes_
edited by Clifton Fadiman and Andrι Bernard [2000 ed.]


The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool,
and he must be no simpleton that plays that part.
--Miguel de Cervantes (1547—1616)
Spanish novelist.

"Gone With the Wind" is going to be the biggest flop
in Hollywood history. I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable
who's falling flat on his face and not Gary Cooper.
--Gary Cooper (1901—1961)
American film actor.
After Gable's acceptance of the
Rhett Butler role Cooper had turned down.
In Larry Swindell _The Last Hero: A Biography of Gary Cooper_ [1980].

Learn the lines and don't bump into the
--Noλl Coward (1899—1973)
English playwright, actor, and composer.
Advice for actors, attributed.

The concealment of art by the actor is as great
a mark of genius as it is in the painter.
--Franηois Delsarte (1811—1871)
French teacher of acting and singing.


George C. Scott is one of the few male geniuses I have ever worked
with, the only one whom I have been awed by, the only one who
makes me go, "I can't do that. I don't know how to do that. I wish
I could buy some of that."

Offstage, he is quiet and introverted. But at the same time he has
more rage than anybody I know. And it works for him onstage. People
come up to get him to sign autographs, and he dismisses them. He
told me, "I don't like people."

--Charles Durning (1923— )
American stage and film actor.
In Myrna Katz Frommer & Harvey Frommer
_It Happened on Broadway: An Oral History of the Great White Way_ [1998].



Clint Eastwood (1930— )
American film actor and director.

Eastwood was walking across the Warner
lot one day when he was suddenly
accosted by a young woman, who
shouted, 'You're a no good sonafabitch,
always making Mexicans the bad guys
in your films and killing them.' 'Don't
be angry,' responded the actor, 'I kill
lots of other people too.'

--_Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes_
edited by Clifton Fadiman and Andrι Bernard [2000 ed.]


My problem lies in reconciling my gross
habits with my net income.
--Errol Flynn (1909—1959)
Tasmanian-born motion-picture actor.
In Jane Mercer _Great Lovers of the Movies_ [1975]

I'll cable Hitler and ask him to
shoot around you.
--Samuel Goldwyn (1882—1974)
American film producer.
To David Niven, who left Hollywood in 1939 to sign up for the
war; in David Niven, _Bring On the Empty Horses_ [1975].


One night in the middle of the court scene [in the play "Inherit the Wind"]
where Darrow [George C. Scott] is trying to entrap Bryan [Charles Durning],
he holds up a rock with a fossil in it and asks, "How old do you think this
rock is?"

Charlie gives him an answer. And George says, "Excuse me, ladies and
gentlemen. I think I'm going to have to leave."

Someone in the audience laughed, but everyone else knew something was
terribly wrong. George leaned against the judge's bench and said, "I'm going
to faint." We all froze for a second. Then the actor playing the judge and the
actor playing the bailiff jumped up, got on either side of George, and helped
him off stage left. The audience began to rustle and mumble.

The stage manager in the wings got on the public address system and said,
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing some slight difficulty. We will
take a short intermission and then will resume the show."

At that, a voice from the rear shouted out, "No, no, we won't!"

It was Tony Randall [Scott's understudy], up in the mezzanine. He ran
downstairs and in a flash was up onstage. "We're not taking an intermission,"
he said. "What was the last line?"

Charlie, sitting in the witness box, said, "Darrow asked me how old that rock

Tony grabbed the rock, took off his jacket, loosened his tie, and said, "How
old do you think this rock is?"

It took all of forty-five seconds. One actor exited stage left, another entered
stage right, and we were right back doing the play. Somebody told me that
never had happened before in the history of Broadway.

--John Griesemer,
American actor who appeared in the 1996 revival of _Inherit the Wind_,
in Myrna Katz Frommer & Harvey Frommer
_It Happened on Broadway: An Oral History of the Great White Way_ [1998].


Acting is the most minor of gifts. After
all, Shirley Temple could do it when she
was four.
--Katharine Hepburn (1907—2003)
American stage and motion-picture actress;
winner of four Academy Awards.

Actors are cattle.
--Alfred Hitchcock (1899—1980)
British-born film director.
(Responding to protests from the acting community
Hitchcock amended his remark to, "Actors should
be treated like cattle.")


I would have won the Academy Award
if not for one thing ... my pictures.
--Bob [Leslie Townes] Hope (1903—2003)
British-born American entertainer and actor.

They are doing things on the screen now
that I wouldn't do in bed, if I could.
--Bob [Leslie Townes] Hope (1903—2003)
British-born American entertainer and actor.
1965 attributed remark.


Being in this business is a lot better than
working in a car factory, a lot better than
working in a coal mine. What's the big deal?
People who moan and bitch and complain about
what they do, I just want to say, 'Then leave!
Get out of it! Go do something else!' I mean,
here you are, making a lot of money, with
people feeding you on the set, looking after
your every need. I just want to kick them in
the goolies, you know? You know when some of
these people, these megaphones of Hollywood,
show up on these awards shows, and just never
shut the f___ up? Just keep going on about
some noble cause or the other? I just want to
say 'Accept your award. Say 'thank you' and get
off!' I'm not interested in all that bull____.
--Anthony Hopkins (1937— )
British-born American actor.

"Shoot her."
--George S. Kaufman (1889—1961)
American playwright, director, and producer.
When asked by a press agent
"How do I get our leading lady's name in the Times?"


Fay Wray, who screamed her way into movie history as
the apple of King Kong's eye, has died [2004]. She was 96.

[. . . ]

Wray was already a star of silent films and talkies
when, at age 25, she was cast by director Merian C.
Cooper as Ann Darrow — a.k.a. "the girl" — in the
1933 film "King Kong."

Although she made about 80 movies, her fame as a
co-star to an ape — she referred to her unrequited
lover simply as Kong — far outlasted the celebrity
she enjoyed from movies she made with the pantheon
of Hollywood's leading men, including Ronald Colman,
Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, William Powell and Spencer

For many years, Wray resisted the attention that
came to her for donning a blond wig to play the role
opposite her "tallest, darkest leading man."

[. . . ]

"I yelled every time they said, 'Yell,'" she said of
the role for which she was paid $10,000 for 10
weeks' work — good pay for Hollywood during the

RKO got more than its money's worth — the film
grossed nearly $90,000 in its first four days, a
fortune at a time when movie tickets were 15 cents.
What's more, Wray recorded some of her sensuous
moans and shrieks for the studio, which were later
used in other horror films.

[ . . . ]

Although King Kong was several stories high in the film,
he was in reality just 18 inches of cloth, metal and
rubber brought to life by special-effects genius Willis
H. O'Brien.

The only part of the beast that was true to scale
was the 6-foot arm and hand that cradled her in many
scenes. (The limb was on display for a time at the
Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.)

[. . . ]

She [once told an] interviewer, "Every time I'm
in New York, I say a little prayer when passing the
Empire State Building. A good friend of mine died
up there."

--Claudia Luther
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
_Los Angeles Times_ [10 August 2004],
"Obituaries: Fay Wray, 96; Actress, Object of
Ape's Desire in 'King Kong'"


When Victor Mature applied to join the exclusive Los Angeles
Country Club he was told: 'We don't accept actors.'

'I'm no actor,' he replied, 'and I've sixty-four pictures to
prove it.'

--_The Folio Book of Humorous Anecdotes_
Introduced by Edward Leeson [2005], "Films, Film Stars and Film-Makers"


The public has never known the extent of it, but Ms.
Olivia de Havilland
was drawn into a maelstrom of Cold War intrigue in
1946. She discussed it in detail only once, when she was
accused of being a communist in 1958 and was secretly
called to Washington by the House Committee on Un-American
Activities. "I wore a red suit and I said, 'Please don't think that
the color explains my political opinion.' The staff investigator
was infuriated with that line and roared, 'Strike that from the

Ms. de Havilland is often playfully mischievous. When Errol
Flynn flirtatiously toyed with her on the set of "The Adventures
of Robin Hood," she got even with him by flubbing kissing
scenes, making them more passionate than needed, requiring
retakes. The result: "He had, if I may say so, a little trouble
with his tights," she remembers.

--John Meroney
"Olivia de Havilland Recalls Her Role — in the Cold War"
_The Wall Street Journal_ [7 September 2006]


Sidney Lumet is the only director who could double-park
in front of a whore-house — he's that fast.
--Paul Newman (1925— )
Amercan actor.

What is acting but lying, and what
is good acting but convincing lying?
--Lord Laurence Olivier (1907—1989)
English actor and director.
"An Autobiography" [1982]


Tatum O'Neal (1963— )
American film actress, daughter of actor Ryan O'Neal.

When fourteen-year-old Tatum O'Neal was making the film
"International Velvet," a school inspector came to make
sure that she was not falling behind in her studies. Noting
that her math was not very good, he asked whether that
did not bother her. The child star was unconcerned: "Oh,
no, I'll have an accountant."


She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B.
--Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
American critic and humorist.
Referring to Katharine Hepburn's performance
in the 1933 play "The Lake."

All the world practices the art of acting.
--Gaius Petronius Arbiter (?—AD 66)
Roman writer and senator.

Reporter: What kind of governor will you be?
Reagan: I don't know; I never played a
--Ronald Reagan (1911—2004)
U.S. President [1981-1989] and former Hollywood actor.
On being elected governor of California [1967].

The Zulus know [Charlie] Chaplin
better than Arkansas knows Garbo.
--Will Rogers [William Penn Adair Rogers] (1879—1935)
American humorist and actor.
"Atlantic Monthly" [August 1939]

One of the main reasons I wanted to be an actress was
that it gave me a chance to play people infinitely more
interesting than I am and to say things infinitely more
intelligent and amusing than I could ever say.
--Prunella Scales (1932— )
British actress.


George C. Scott was once required to shoot a
love scene with a certain voluptuous actress.
"I apologize if I get an erection," he said
getting into bed. "And I apologize if I



All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
--William Shakespeare (1564—1616)
English dramatist.
_As You Like It_ [1599—1600] Act ii, sc.vii

I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine is a sad one.
--William Shakespeare (1564—1616)
English dramatist.
_The Merchant of Venice_ [1596—1597] Act i, Sc. i, Ln. 77



It is greatly to Mrs. Patrick Campbell's credit
that, bad as the play was, her acting was worse.
--George Bernard Shaw (1856—1950)
Irish comic dramatist, literary critic, Socialist
propagandist, and winner of the Nobel Prize
for Literature in 1925.

Am reserving two tickets for you for my
premiere. Come and bring a friend — if
you have one.
(Telegram inviting Winston Churchill to opening night
of Pygmalion. Churchill wired back, "Impossible to be
present for the first performance. Will attend the
second — if there is one.")
--George Bernard Shaw (1856—1950)
Irish comic dramatist, literary critic, Socialist
propagandist, and winner of the Nobel Prize
for Literature in 1925.



Norma Talmadge (1895—1957)
American silent movie actress.

Some years into her retirement, after making over
fifty movies and reigning as a queen of Hollywood
for years, she was besieged by a crowd of admirers
when she was spotted leaving a restaurant in Los
Angeles. As she drove away, she called out to her
fans, 'Go away! I don't need you anymore.'

--_Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes_
edited by Clifton Fadiman and Andrι Bernard [2000 ed.]


Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?
--Harry Morris Warner [Hirsch Eichelbaum]
(1881—1958) Polish-born co-founder of Warner Brothers.
{Referrring to the advent of talkies.}


John Wayne [Marion Michael Morrison] (1907—1979)
American motion-picture actor.

When playing a cameo role in the biblical epic
"The Greatest Story Ever Told," Wayne had a
line he spoke too laconically: 'Truly, this was
the Son of God.' The director, George Stevens,
reminded him he was talking about Jesus and
said, 'You've got to deliver the line with more
awe.' On his next take Wayne said, 'Aw, truly
this was the Son of God.'

--_Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes_
edited by Clifton Fadiman and Andrι Bernard [2000 ed.]

I figured I needed a gimmick, so I dreamed
up the drawl, the squint, and a way of moving
which meant to suggest that I wasn't looking
for trouble but would just as soon throw a
bottle at your head as not.
--John Wayne [Marion Michael Morrison] (1907—1979)
American motion-picture actor.


California is a place where they shoot too
many pictures and not enough actors.
--Walter Winchell (1897—1972)
American journalist.


histrionic [his-tree-ON-ik], adjective:
1. Of or relating to actors, acting, or the theater; befitting
a theater; theatrical.
2. Overly dramatic; deliberately affected.
Ex.: "And the same is true for the other judgments we make
about tears, as when we deem them to be normal or excessive,
sincere or manipulative, expressive or histrionic."
--Tom Lutz,
_Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears_

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