Humorous Quotes from Kirk Douglas'
The Ragman's Son
The story of his life is told with great candor and a healthy dose of self-deprecation. It’s worth not renting two Kirk Douglas movies in order to read. ~ The New York Times Book Review
I believed what my mother told me. When it thundered, the angels were bowling. When it snowed, the angels were sweeping off the porch of heaven.
All the movements now are encouraging women to be stronger. I’d like to be in a movement for men to be weaker. The right to be weak, the right to be passive, the right to do nothing.
I never stop to savor a victory. When victory is nevitable, I’ve already left.
The first nights home with Michael were traumatic. If he cried, we were petrified. If he didn’t cry, we were afraid that he was dead.
I’m always unhappy unless something comes along to make me happy. And then I’m not sure that I’m happy.
The pressures of Hollywood were enormous. It was very hard to keep any sense of perspective or sanity. Or privacy, with Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper
and Sheilah Graham – the gossip columnists – calling up all the time. They bullied and terrorized people – the ones they liked. The ones they didn’t like, they destroyed in a line.
On the bad days, you think of what Tallulah Bankhead said: “Who do I have to f*** to get out of this business?”
Five years later, I stopped going to the psychiatrist. I learned: (1) Everyone has problems, some great greater, some lesser. It’s just that some people handle them better than others. (2) You never graduate from analysis.
(3) My doctor was more screwed up than I was.
At dinner, she was glamorous and very attractive, her eyes, as the French say, 'clignotants comme un hibou' -flickering like an owl’s.
I went to see my analyst, managed to tell him that the night before I had been impotent. He smiled. “You tell me that you had sex twenty-nine nights in a row with different girls. On the thirtieth, you say you're impotent. You know, even God rested after six days.”
All I could think of was that saying "After sex, a woman should turn into a pinochle table with three other guys."
Streets crowded with people strolling, or sitting at outdoor cafes. And always, talking, gesturing, singing, laughing. I liked Rome immediately. Everybody was a performer.
Favorite Extract/ Long Quote...
I met up with Peyton Price, a graduate of the Academy who was working there as an associate teacher, but primarily in charge of the technical side backstage. He had a small apartment in Greenwich Village with bunk beds. He let me use the upper bunk for about two months, until I finally got a job and could afford to move out. When I tried to pay him back, he said
something to me that I’ve never forgotten and that affected a lot of what I did later in life. He said, “You don’t owe me anything. I’ve been helped by others, and I pass it on to you. Now you owe it to someone else.”
On a crowded bus (in Israel), a mother was speaking to her son in Yiddish. An Israeli woman reprimanded her. “You should be speaking Hebrew. Why are you talking to him in Yiddish?’’
The mother answered, “I don’t want he should forget he’s a Jew.’”
To me, acting is creating an illusion, showing tremendous discipline, not losing yourself in the character that you're portraying. The actor never gets lost in the character he’s playing; the audience does.
I juggled, Tony assisting me. The audience applauded like crazy. Of course, supposedly unbeknown to us, Janet Leigh was behind us doing a striptease.
The audience applauded, I bowed. “Do you want more?” They all yelled, “Yeah! More! More!” So I’d start to juggle again, and Janet would take off more clothes.
You learn the hard way that the old joke is no old joke:
“How do people in Hollywood say ‘F*** you’?
I think we spend too much time fighting communism instead of fighting to make democracy better.
How can any woman be married to a movie star? She has to be part saint, part sexpot.
We were always trying to one-up each other. There’s a wonderful scene where Wayne and I shoot two bad guys at the same time. I look at him very coolly and say, “Mine hit the ground first.” Wayne looks at me, pauses, then says, “Mine was taller.”
Sometimes I think my life is a B-movie script. I’d never make the movie.
Favorite Extract/ Long Quote...
I had to convince Kramer and Foreman that I could play Midge Kelly. They had reservations about me. They’d seen my performance as the weak district attorney in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, and as the sensitive
schoolteacher in A Letter to Three Wives. Now, although they were trying to be delicate about it, they were wondering whether I could play a boxer. I finally realized what they wanted. I thought, this is what the starlets do. I took off my jacket and shirt, bared my chest and flexed my muscles. They nodded approvingly, satisfied that I could play a boxer. I was probably the only man in Hollywood who’s had to strip to get a part.
People thought that I, personally, had the power to fix whatever was wrong. I wish I had a magic wand, too. I may be Spartacus, but I am not Superman.
Being seventy has its advantages. I was outspoken before, but now what have I got to keep quiet about?
The definition of an actor - someone who loves rejection.
If I had known Michael was going to be so successful, I would have been much nicer to him when he was young. Be nice to you kids. You never know how they’re
going to grow up.
Remember Popeye? Whatever he did, his only answer was “ I yam what I yam.” Deep philosophy in that simple remark. Not very different from Socrates’ “Know thyself.”
The mortality rate of studio executives is about the same as second lieutenants in Vietnam.
“Hail to the Chief” was played, and the President (Ronald Regan) got up and made a gracious opening remark. “I’ve been in this office for six years, and yet every time I hear that music, I turn around wondering who they’re playing it for.”
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