An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown




You are not in business to be popular.


Kirstie Alley (1951-, American actress)


We become actors without realizing it, and actors without wanting to.


Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881, Swiss philosopher, poet, critic)


The actors today really need the whip hand. They're so lazy. They haven't got the sense of pride in their profession that the less socially elevated musical comedy and music hall people or acrobats have. The theater has never been any good since the actors became gentlemen.


W. H. Auden (1907-1973, Anglo-American poet)


I don't get acting jobs because of my looks.


Alec Baldwin (1958-, American actor)


Acting is a matter of giving away secrets.


Ellen Barkin (1954-, American actress)


For an actress to be a success, she must have the face of Venus, the brains of a Minerva, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of a Macaulay, the figure of Juno, and the hide of a rhinoceros.


Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959, American actress)


The face of Garbo is an Idea, that of Hepburn an Event.


Roland Barthes (1915-1980, French semiologist)


For the theatre one needs long arms; it is better to have them too long than too short. An artiste with short arms can never, never make a fine gesture.


Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923, French actress)


Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. The principal benefit acting has afforded me is the money to pay for my psychoanalysis.


Marlon Brando (1924-, American actor, director)


To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.


Marlon Brando (1924-, American actor, director)


The hardest part has been maintaining a small head -- remaining down to earth. So many people try to make you more than you are. This business has changed a lot of good people and a lot of good families, and I don't want that to happen to me.


Rayana Norwood Brandy (1979-, American actress)


A man who strains himself on the stage is bound, if he is any good, to strain all the people sitting in the stalls.


Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956, German dramatist, poet)


One forgets too easily the difference between a man and his image, and that there is none between the sound of his voice on the screen and in real life.


Robert Bresson (1907-1999, French film director)


From '86 until the summer of last year, wherever I went, people would say, "You would have made a great James Bond! Weren't you going to be James Bond? You should have been, you could have been, you may have been." Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. It was like unfinished business in my life. I couldn't say no to it this time around.


Pierce Brosnan (1952-, Irish-born American actor)


An actor is something less than a man, while an actress is something more than a woman.


Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890, Explorer, born in Torquay)


When I was a fireman I was in a lot of burning buildings. It was a great job, the only job I ever had that compares with the thrill of acting. Before going into a fire, there's the same surge of adrenaline you get just before the camera rolls.


Steve Buscemi (1952-, American actor, director, playwright, producer, screenwriter)


I am acquainted with no immaterial sensuality so delightful as good acting.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


First of all, I choose the great roles, and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don't come, I choose the ones that pay the rent.


Michael Caine (1933-, British-born American actor, acting teacher)


Such is an actor's life. We must ride the waves of every film, barfing occasionally, yet maintain our dignity, even as the bulk of our Herculean efforts are keel-hauled before our very eyes. [On filming MacHale's Navy]


Bruce Campbell


The popularity of that baby-faced boy, who possessed not even the elements of a good actor, was a hallucination in the public mind, and a disgrace to our theatrical history.


Thomas Campbell (1777-1844, Scottish poet)


Until Ace Ventura, no actor had considered talking through his ass.


Jim Carrey (1962-, Canadian-born American comedian, actor)


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, dramatist, poet)


The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting.


Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977, British comic actor, filmmaker)


Actors search for rejection. If they don't get it they reject themselves.


Chevy Chase (1943-, American actor)


When an actor has money, he doesn't send letters, but telegrams.


Anton Chekhov (1860-1904, Russian playwright, short story writer)


An actor is only merchandise.


Yun-Fat Chow (1955-, Hong Kong movie star)


I really think that effective acting has to do literally with the movement of molecules.


Glenn Close (1947-, American actress)


To see him act is like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834, British poet, critic, philosopher)


Celebrity is death -- celebrity -- that's the worst thing that can happen to an actor.


John Cusack (1966-, American actor, playwright, producer, stage director)


I am the Fred Astaire of karate.


Jean-Claude Van Damme (1960-, Belgian-born American actor)


Somebody told me I should put a pebble in my mouth to cure my stuttering. Well, I tried it, and during a scene I swallowed the pebble. That was the end of that.


Marion Davies (1897-1961, American actress)


You name it and I've done it. I'd like to say I did it my way. But that line, I'm afraid, belongs to someone else.


Sammy Davis Jr. (1925-1990, American actor, dancer, singer)


The real actor has a direct line to the collective heart.


Bette Davis (1908-1989, American actress, producer)


I have often seen an actor laugh off the stage, but I don't remember ever having seen one weep.


Denis Diderot (1713-1784, French philosopher)


Some scenes you juggle two balls, some scenes you juggle three balls, some scenes you can juggle five balls. The key is always to speak in your own voice. Speak the truth. That's Acting 101. Then you start putting layers on top of that. [On his acting techniques]


Vincent D'Onofrio (1959-, American actor, producer)


I'd prefer not to be the pretty thing in a film. It's such a bloody responsibility to look cute, because people know when you don't and they're like, "They're trying to pass her off as the cute girl and she's looking like a bedraggled sack of potatoes."


Minnie Driver (1971-, British-born American actress, guitarist, singer)


I find myself fascinating.


Richard Dryfus (1937-, American actor)


I mean, the question actors most often get asked is how they can bear saying the same things over and over again, night after night, but God knows the answer to that is, don't we all anyway; might as well get paid for it.


Elaine Dundy


Acting doesn't bring anything to a text. On the contrary, it detracts from it.


Marguerite Duras (1914-1996, French author, filmmaker)


She represents the un-vowed aspiration of the male human being, his potential infidelity -- and infidelity of a very special kind, which would lead him to the opposite of his wife, to the "woman of wax" whom he could model at will, make and unmake in any way he wished, even unto death.


Marguerite Duras (1914-1996, French author, filmmaker)


Acting is the perfect idiot's profession.


Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003, American actress, writer)


Mr. Clarke played the King all evening as though under constant fear that someone else was about to play the Ace.


Eugene Field (1850-1895, American writer)


Show me a great actor and I'll show you a lousy husband. Show me a great actress, and you've seen the devil.


W. C. Fields (1879-1946, American actor)


The great actors are the luminous ones. They are the great conductors of the stage.


Minnie Fiske


The best actors do not let the wheels show.


Henry Fonda (1905-1982, American movie & stage actor)


A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming.


Jane Fonda (1937-, American screen actor)


You spend all your life trying to do something they put people in asylums for.


Jane Fonda (1937-, American screen actor)


I'm an assistant storyteller. It's like being a waiter or a gas-station attendant, but I'm waiting on six million people a week, if I'm lucky. [On being an actor]


Harrison Ford (1942-, American actor)


The actor's popularity is evanescent; applauded today, forgotten tomorrow.


Edwin Forrest


I was born at the age of twelve on a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot.


Judy Garland (1922-1969, American actress, singer)


If you have to be in a soap opera try not to get the worst role.


Boy George (1961-, British rock musician)


An actor is a guy who, if you ain't talking about him, he ain't listening.


George Glass


Acting is nothing more or less than playing. The idea is to humanize life.


Jeff Goldblum (1952-, American actor, acting teacher)


Tell them to stand closer apart.


Samuel Goldwyn (1882-1974, American film producer, founder of MGM)


Acting is happy agony.


Sir Alec Guiness (1914-2000, British actor)


More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.


Uta Hagen


Acting on a good idea is better than just having a good idea.


Robert Half (American businessman, founder of Robert Half & Associates)


A movie camera is like having someone you have a crush on watching you from afar -- you pretend it's not there.


Daryl Hannah (1960-, American actress)


Acting can work a peculiar magic on the actor... it can cure you (at least for the length of a performance) of a whole variety of ailments. Migraine headaches, miserable colds or toothaches will suddenly disappear as you're up there going through your paces.


Barbara G. Harris


They are the only honest hypocrites, their life is a voluntary dream, a studied madness.


William Hazlitt (1778-1830, British essayist)


They are, as it were, train-bearers in the pageant of life, and hold a glass up to humanity, frailer than itself. We see ourselves at second-hand in them: they show us all that we are, all that we wish to be, and all that we dread to be. What brings the resemblance nearer is, that, as they imitate us, we, in our turn, imitate them. There is no class of society whom so many persons regard with affection as actors.


William Hazlitt (1778-1830, British essayist)


We must overact our part in some measure, in order to produce any effect at all.


William Hazlitt (1778-1830, British essayist)


If you give an audience a chance they will do half your acting for you.


Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003, American actress, writer)


It's a business you go into because your an egocentric. It's a very embarrassing profession.


Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003, American actress, writer)


The most minor gifts and not a very high class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four.


Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003, American actress, writer)


I never said all actors are cattle, what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.


Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980, Anglo-American filmmaker)


You reach a point where you say you're not going to do juveniles any longer.


Ron Howard (1954-, American director, actor, producer)


Actors are loved because they are unoriginal. Actors stick to their script. The unoriginal man is loved by the mediocrity because this kind of "artistic" expression is something to which the merest five-eighth can climb.


Patrick Kavanagh (1905-1967, Irish poet, author)


I have tried to be as eclectic as I possibly can with my professional life, and so far it's been pretty fun.


Holly Hunter (1958-, American actress)


Talk to them about things they don't know. Try to give them an inferiority complex. If the actress is beautiful, screw her. If she isn't, present her with a valuable painting she will not understand. If they insist on being boring, kick their asses or twist their noses. And that's about all there is to it.


John Huston (1906-1987, American film director)


Actors often behave like children, and so we're taken for children. I want to be grown up.


Jeremy Irons (1948-, British-born American actor)


In civilized life, where the happiness and indeed almost the existence of man, depends on the opinion of his fellow men. He is constantly acting a studied part.


Washington Irving (1783-1859, American author)


Acting is not about dressing up. Acting is about stripping bare. The whole essence of learning lines is to forget them so you can make them sound like you thought of them that instant.


Glenda Jackson (1936-, British actress and politician)


Acting provides the fulfillment of never being fulfilled. You're never as good as you'd like to be. So there's always something to hope for.


Glenda Jackson (1936-, British actress and politician)


I want to do a musical movie. Like Evita, but with good music.


Elton John (1947-, British musician, singer, songwriter)


An agent is a person who is sore because an actor gets 90% of what they make.


Alva Johnson


Players, Sir! I look on them as no better than creatures set upon tables and joint stools to make faces and produce laughter, like dancing dogs.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


I think every American actor wants to be a movie star. But I never wanted to do stupid movies, I wanted to do films. I vowed I would never do a commercial, nor would I do a soap opera -- both of which I did as soon as I left the [Acting] Company and was starving.


Kevin Kline (1947-, American actor, stage director)


It is sometimes necessary to play the fool in order to avoid being deceived by cunning men.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


I just stopped playing bitches on wheels and peoples' mothers. I have only a few more years to kick up my heels!


Angela Lansbury (1925-, British-born American actress)


I was sitting in the looping studio late one night, and I had this epiphany that they weren't paying me for my acting, for God's sake, but to own me. And from then on, it became clear and an awful lot easier to deal with.


Lucy Lawless (1968-, New Zealander actress)


Acting is therefore the lowest of the arts, if it is an art at all.


George Moore (1852-1933, Irish writer)


I don't do T & A very well, because I haven't got much of either.


Tea Leoni (1966-, American actress)


The thing about performance, even if it's only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities.


Daniel Day Lewis (1957-, British-born American actor)


You don't merely give over your creativity to making a film -- you give over your life! In theatre, by contrast, you live these two rather strange lives simultaneously; you have no option but to confront the mould on last night's washing-up.


Daniel Day Lewis (1957-, British-born American actor)


People say I'm cocky, but am I supposed to sit here and be insecure and not know where my future's going or not realize that moviemaking is the greatest thing to happen to me?


Juliette Lewis (1973-, American actress)


We are born at the rise of the curtain and we die with its fall, and every night in the presence of our patrons we write our new creation, and every night it is blotted out forever; and of what use is it to say to audience or to critic, "Ah, but you should have seen me last Tuesday?"


Micheal Macliammoir


It's not a field, I think, for people who need to have success every day: if you can't live with a nightly sort of disaster, you should get out. I wouldn't describe myself as lacking in confidence, but I would just say that the ghosts you chase you never catch.


John Malkovich


I have spent more than half a lifetime trying to express the tragic moment.


Marcel Marceau (1923-, French mime artist)


After Blood Simple, everybody thought I was from Texas. After Mississippi Burning, everybody thought I was from Mississippi and uneducated. After Fargo, everybody's going to think I'm from Minnesota, pregnant, and have blonde hair. I don't think you can ever completely transform yourself on film, but if you do your job well, you can make people believe that you're the character you're trying to be.


Frances McDormand


Actors die so loud.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


This is not a tough job. You read a script. If you like the part and the money is O.K., you do it. Then you remember your lines. You show up on time. You do what the director tells you to do. When you finish, you rest and then go on to the next part. That's it.


Robert Mitchum (1917-1997, American actor)


I'm not an actress who can create a character. I play me.


Mary Tyler Moore (1936-, American actress)


Left eyebrow raised, right eyebrow raised.


Roger Moore (1927-, British-born American actor)


Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself.


Jeanne Moreau (1928-, French actress and director)


Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experience.


Paul Newman (1925-, American actor, director, philanthropist)


In Europe an actor is an artist. In Hollywood, if he isn't working, he's a bum.


Anthony Quinn (1915-2001, American actor)


Every time I get a script it's a matter of trying to know what I could do with it. I see colors, imagery. It has to have a smell. It's like falling in love. You can't give a reason why.


Lena Olin (1955-, Swedish-born American actress)


I have to act to live.


Sir Lawrence Olivier (1907-1989, British actor, producer, director)


The actor becomes an emotional athlete. The process is painful -- my personal life suffers.


Al Pacino (1940-, American actor, director)


Elizabeth Taylor is pre-feminist woman. This is the source of her continuing greatness and relevance. She wields the sexual power that feminism cannot explain and has tried to destroy. Through stars like Taylor, we sense the world-disordering impact of legendary women like Delilah, Salome, and Helen of Troy. Feminism has tried to dismiss the femme fatale as a misogynist libel, a hoary cliche. But the femme fatale expresses women's ancient and eternal control of the sexual realm. The specter of the femme fatale stalks all men's relations with women.


Camille Paglia (1947-, American author, critic, educator)


She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.


Dorothy Parker (1893-1967, American humorous writer)


You can't do four movies and be good to everybody and be flying all night and shooting all day with a different wig and then be going to sing on Broadway without feeling a little tired. You endlessly feel you're letting somebody down.


Sarah Jessica Parker (1965-, American actress)


Ah just act the way ah feel.


Elvis Presley (1935-1977, American singer, actor)


I don't want to read about some of these actresses who are around today; they sound like my niece in Scarsdale. I love my niece in Scarsdale, but I won't buy tickets to see her act.


Vincent Price (1911-1993, American actor and writer)


I don't think there's a punch-line scheduled, is there?


Monty Python (1939-, British actor, comedian)


I must say that acting was good training for the political life that lay ahead of us.


Nancy Reagan (1923-, American First Lady)


A lot of what acting is, is paying attention.


Robert Redford (1937-, American actor, director, producer)


Acting is not being emotional, but being able to express emotion.


Thomas Reid (1710-1769, Scottish philosopher)


There are no small parts. Only small actors.


Ginger Rogers (1911-1995, American actress)


I know a lot of athletes and models are written off as just bodies. I never felt used for my body.


Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947-, Austrian-born American actor, author, director, restaurateur)


I was planning to go into architecture. But when I arrived, architecture was filled up. Acting was right next to it, so I signed up for acting instead. [On his college registration experience]


Tom Selleck (1945-, American actor)


Oh! it offends me to the soul to hear a robust periwig-pated fellow, tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you -- tripping on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as Leif the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


Why, except as a means of livelihood, a man should desire to act on the stage when he has the whole world to act in, is not clear to me.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


An actress must never lose her ego -- without it she has no talent.


Norma Shearer (1900-1983, Canadian-born American actress)


Actors ought to be larger than life. You come across quite enough ordinary, nondescript people in daily life and I don't see why you should be subjected to them on the stage too.


Donald Sinden (1923-, British actor)


An actor who knows his business ought to be able to make the London telephone directory sound enthralling.


Donald Sinden (1923-, British actor)


You know how in high school you do these plays and people come up after the show and they're really excited for you? Well, that's what's happening to me right now.


Mira Sorvino (1970-, American actress)


I think I am a much better actor than I have allowed myself to be.


Kevin Spacey (1959-, American actor, director, producer)


I'm not handsome in the classical sense. The eyes droop, the mouth is crooked, the teeth aren't straight, the voice sounds like a Mafioso pallbearer, but somehow it all works.


Sylvester Stallone (1946-, American actor, writer, director, producer)


A true priest is aware of the presence of the altar during every moment that he is conducting a service. It is exactly the same way that a true artist should react to the stage all the time he is in the theater. An actor who is incapable of this feeling will never be a true artist.


Konstantin Stanislavisky (1863-1968, Russian actor, theatre director, teacher)


Do not try to push your way through to the front ranks of your profession; do not run after distinctions and rewards; but do your utmost to find an entry into the world of beauty.


Konstantin Stanislavisky (1863-1968, Russian actor, theatre director, teacher)


Remember this practical piece of advice: never come into the theatre with mud on your feet. Leave your dust and dirt outside. Check your little worries, squabbles, petty difficulties with your outside clothing -- all the things that ruin your life and draw your attention away from your art -- at the door.


Konstantin Stanislavisky (1863-1968, Russian actor, theatre director, teacher)


Stage charm guarantees in advance an actor's hold on the audience, it helps him to carry over to large numbers of people his creative purposes. It enhances his roles and his art. Yet it is of utmost importance that he use this precious gift with prudence, wisdom, and modesty. It is a great shame when he does not realize this and goes on to exploit, to play on his ability to charm.


Konstantin Stanislavisky (1863-1968, Russian actor, theatre director, teacher)


The main factor in any form of creativeness is the life of a human spirit, that of the actor and his part, their joint feelings and subconscious creation.


Konstantin Stanislavisky (1863-1968, Russian actor, theatre director, teacher)


Unless the theatre can ennoble you, make you a better person, you should flee from it.


Konstantin Stanislavisky (1863-1968, Russian actor, theatre director, teacher)


Imagination, industry, and intelligence -- "the three I’s" -- are all indispensable to the actress, but of these three the greatest is, without doubt, imagination.


Ellen Terry


I can't tell you how many shows I've done with full-blown migraine headaches.


Jonathan Taylor Thomas (1981-, American actor)


There were many times my pants were so thin I could sit on a dime and tell if it was heads or tails.


Spencer Tracy (1900-1967, American film actor)


I'm disappointed in acting as a craft. I want everything to go back to Orson Welles and fake noses and changing your voice. It's become so much about personality.


Skeet Ulrich (1970-, American actor)


All men practice the actor's art.


Author Unknown


If a farmer fills his barn with grain, he gets mice. If he leaves it empty, he gets actors.


Bill Vaughan (1915-1977, American author, journalist)


I love acting. It is so much more real than life.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Every actor in his heart believes everything bad that's printed about him.


Orson Welles (1915-1985, American film maker)


I'm an actor. And I guess I've done so many movies I've achieved some high visibility. But a star? I guess I still think of myself as kind of a worker ant.


Forest Whitaker (1961-, American actor, director)


Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


The mere mechanical technique of acting can be taught, but the spirit that is to give life to lifeless forms must be born in a man. No dramatic college can teach its pupils to think or to feel. It is Nature who makes our artists for us, though it may be Art who taught them their right mode of expression.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


While we look to the dramatist to give romance to realism, we ask of the actor to give realism to romance.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.


Thornton Wilder (1897-1975, American novelist, playwright)


If I wasn't an actor, I'd be a secret agent.


Elijah Wood (1981-, American actor)


Actors are one family over the entire world.


Alfre Woodard (1953-, American actress)


The mug is a tool. My ace in the hole. To have looks is the bonus on top of what motivates me to be an actor. Not to realize they're an asset would be counterproductive to the cause; they serve the common good.


Billy Zane (1966-, American actor)


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