[Issuing a challenge to MGM bosses in the 1930s, a challenge that fell upon deaf ears] ‘Why does every black person in the movies have to play a servant? How about a black person walking up the steps of a courthouse carrying a briefcase?’
[Referring to her being typecast as ‘the perfect wife’] ‘Some perfect wife I am. I’ve been married four times, divorced four times, have no children, and can’t boil an egg.’
Joan Crawford (L) & Myrna Loy
[Her 1981 comments about her friend Joan Crawford and Joan’s adopted daughter Christina, authoress of ‘Mommie Dearest’] ‘I can tell you that when you made a friend in Joan you had a friend for life. She never forgot your birthday, and you’d get a congratulatory note from her when good things happened in your life. She cared about people and her friends, no matter what anybody says. I liked her, and I miss her, and I think her daughter’s stories are pure bunk. Even if they were true, if ever there was a girl who needed a good whack it was spoiled, horrible Christina. Believe me, there were many times I wanted to smack her myself…Christina and Christopher [Joan’s son] made me glad I didn’t have children.’
[The former star of the musical film Oliver! (1968), commented on accusations of child molestation against his long-time friend Michael Jackson]. ‘He just loved children. He saw himself as the Pied Piper…He would never do anything to hurt anyone and I don’t believe that anything ever happened with Gavin Arviso. When I thought about what Michael did for that family, it made me sick to think that they could do that to him. The experience did make him more withdrawn. He took himself away and hid from everyone.
Michael Jackson & Mark Lester
[Regarding his own lifestyle at the height of his fame] ‘I tried everything that was going – drink, dope, acid; whatever was on offer. Coke was selling at sixty pounds a gram and I was buying it for myself and my house guests at the rate of four grams a day. I abused it mercilessly. I blew about 70,000 pounds on stupid things – a very expensive car which got written off, and nightclubs. I’d always pick up the bill. It’s very easy to spend a lot of money in a short space of time, going out. I put it down to an irresponsible 18 year-old, which I think I was at the time, being given a lot of money. I took drugs at parties and things. But no more than anybody else at that time.’
Mills in Ryan’s Daughter (1970)
[Referring to his Oscar-winning role as a brain-damaged mute in Ryan’s Daughter (1970)] ‘It was weird. I just thought I’d been wasting my time for the past 55 years learning all these millions of lines, and then getting an Oscar for not speaking. Ryan’s Daughter is not my best film, but it is the best thing that happened to me, professionally. It brought me the Academy Award, and that meant I could be finally known again as somebody other than Hayley Mills’ father.’
[Gould made no bones about his impression of Jerry Lewis] ‘He blatantly tells you on Network TV that he is the epitome of the socially conscious man, a great humanitarian. Actually, he’s one of the most hostile and unpleasant guys I’ve ever seen.’
[Helen Mirren’s real life first cousin played Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger (1964), her only movie, and recalled working with Sean Connery in this the 3rd James Bond film] ‘Sean Connery was wonderful to work with, a complete professional, humorous, polite and above all remarkably generous to work with. I didn’t get one single direction from the director Guy Hamilton. The most help I got was from Sean. At rushes, he would say, ‘Your chin is too high. It looks great in photographs, what you need in movies is an eye-line. When you turn to me, you need to drop your chin so we can see your eyes.’[Tania passed away from an undisclosed illness in March, 2019. She was 77].
[His half-joking aside to a production assistant, shortly before filming the fateful helicopter sequence in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), the sequence that brought about his death and that of two Vietnamese children in the scene with him] ‘How did I let them talk me into doing this scene? I should have asked for a stunt double.’
Morrow in Blackboard Jungle (1955)
[Commenting on the success of his movie Blackboard Jungle (1955); his performance in which led to him becoming a star]. ‘Sure, the reviews were great…but you would’ve thought they’d picked me up out of an ashtray, and made me a star. Hell, I’d already done Shakespeare and Chekhov and all those other cats.’
[The character actress who played Mrs. Robinson in TV’s Lost in Space (1965-8) also starred in Petticoat Junction (1968-70) as Dr. Janet Craig alongside Edgar Buchanan. In 2015 she spoke of working with him.] ‘He was quite a dear, but very naughty. He would tell the filthiest jokes right up until the cameras started rolling, so one had to compose oneself before the scene started. He had originally been a dentist which always amused me because he had the worst teeth!’
‘They always pencil in my boobs. I was only angry when they were really, really droopy. For King Arthur (2004), for a poster, they gave me these really strange droopy boobs. I don’t have boobs anyway but they digitally made them, and I thought, ‘Whoa, if you’re going to make me fantasy breasts, at least make them perky.’
[On Harvey Weinstein] ‘I absolutely knew he was a bully, and I absolutely knew he was a womanizer, but I totally thought that was consensual. But rape?’
‘We British are so square we have to smuggle our tits past Customs.’
[Regarding the fear of being exposed as gays that George and his close friend Rock Hudson experienced in the fifties] ‘We lived in fear of an exposé, or even one small remark, a veiled suggestion that someone was homosexual. Such a remark would have caused an earthquake at the studio. Every month, when Confidential came out, our stomachs began to turn. Which of us would be it?