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JERRY LEWIS:                                                                  


[The anything but modest comedian summed himself up] ‘I’m a multi-faceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius. I have an IQ of 190 – that’s supposed to be a genius. People don’t like that. My answer to all my critics is simple: I like me. I like what I’ve become. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, and I don’t really believe I’ve scratched the surface yet.’

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Lewis in The Nutty Professor

[On the remake of The Nutty Professor (1996)] ‘I have such respect for Eddie [Murphy], but I should not have done it. What I did was perfect the first time and all you’re going to do is diminish that perfection by letting someone else do it.’

[In 2000, he had this to say]: ‘I don’t like any female comedians. Seeing a woman in comedy sets me back a bit…I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies into the world.’

‘Give an actress a clean dress and see that she gets fresh coffee in the morning and other little spoon feedings. She will kill for you.’

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JUDY GARLAND:                                                             

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Judy & Dirk Bogarde

[Confiding her thoughts to good friend Dirk Bogarde] ‘You know, I can’t really sing, not really; I holler, like I said. Oh sure, I’m no Deanna Durbin, now she really can’t sing, and that silly horse, Jeanette MacDonald, yakking away at wooden-peg Eddy with all that glycerine running down her Max Factor! I have a voice that hurts people where they think they want to be hurt, that’s all…and I can’t act a row of beans either; I’m just me. And I’m so damned scared they’ll all find out one day.’

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DENIS LEARY:                                                      

[Regarding racism in America] ‘We live in a country where Rosa Parks had the courage and conviction to sit down long enough to start a revolution that led to Al Sharpton [black actor and activist] screaming racism every time Barry Bonds [black baseball star] gets indicted for taking performance enhancing drugs in order to break a home run record set by a black man who didn’t even have the benefit of Advil.’

‘Keith Richards [of the Rolling Stones] is telling the kids not to do drugs? We can’t do drugs, Keith, because you already took them all! We have to wait for you to die, and smoke your ashes!’

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EARTHA KITT                                                      

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Eartha & Nat ‘King’ Cole

[On her relationship with Nat ‘King’ Cole when they made St. Louis Blues (1958)] ‘We had a lot of fun together, and when filming was over I went to Las Vegas to finish up my engagement there at El Rancho Vegas. But I flew in every day to Los Angeles to help Nat with his television show. And on the last day, when I returned to my hotel in Las Vegas, my cabin was covered with bouquets of red, red, red roses, with a letter from Nat that said, ‘It is a pity that those of us who work in show business very seldom get a chance to know each other. I’m so glad that I got to know you.’ A few days later, I received another from his wife. That was the bitchiest letter I ever read in my life.’

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VERONICA LAKE:                                                           

‘You could put all the talent I had into your left eye and still not suffer from impaired vision. I wasn’t a sex symbol. I was a sex zombie. Hollywood gives a young girl the aura of one giant, self-contained orgy farm, its inhabitants dedicated to crawling into every pair of pants they can find. If I had stayed in Hollywood I would have ended up like Alan Ladd and Gail Russell – dead and buried by now. That rat race killed them and I knew it would kill me, so I had to get out.’

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RUSSELL JOHNSON:                                           

[The actor who played ‘The Professor’ on Gilligan’s Island had this to say about the series’ theme song] ‘Don’t you realize the opening lyrics lie to you? The mate was a mighty sailing man – come on now – and the ‘Minnow’ would be lost? We were lost, but it wasn’t a ‘desert island’ – it was a jungle island.’

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JENNIFER LAWRENCE:                                    

[The star of The Hunger Games (2012), on what she considers funny] ‘As soon as somebody farts around me, I think it’s hilarious. This is something my brothers did that now the boys at work are obsessed with. You cup it, and then you throw it in someone’s face and say; ‘Take a bite out of that cheeseburger!’

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DEREK JACOBI:                                                               

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Derek & partner Richard Clifford

[Regarding his civil partnership ceremony with his partner of 27 years, Richard Clifford, in March 2006, four months after civil unions became legal in England and Wales] ‘I’ve now been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. We just went to the registry office, signed a bit of paper and it was all over. We didn’t have a party, but we had twenty-five friends to lunch. It was very quiet though, all over in a morning.’

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PETER LORRE:                                                                 

[The Austrian actor had virtually no English when he recalled his first meeting with director Alfred Hitchcock in 1933] ‘I had heard that he loved to tell stories and so I watched him like a hawk, and when I was of the opinion he had just told the punchline of a story, I broke out in such laughter that I almost fell off my chair.’

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CEDRIC HARDWICKE:                                                  

[On Sneak previews in Hollywood] ‘Let one dim-witted schoolboy scrawl ‘lousy’ on his card, and the entire studio may be stampeded the following morning in an executive meeting to discuss slicing and revising the picture to shreds. On Hollywood’s theory that the customer must know best, the schoolboy’s ‘lousy’ is regarded as the last word in dramatic criticism.’

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BESS ARMSTRONG:                                                        

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Bess & Tom Selleck in High Road to China (1983)

[On Tom Selleck, her co-star in High Road to China (1983)] ‘He is gorgeous, and he has some real power now, but he doesn’t use that, or his charm, to exploit women. He genuinely seems to like women. For an actor, that’s rare.’

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[Regarding racism] ‘I don’t have to really be in the 60s. Every time I hail a cab in New York, and they pass me by and pick up the white person, then I get a dose of it. Or when they don’t want to take you to Harlem. I grew up with that.’


    • Most people rave about the genius of Laurel & Hardy, Cat, but I never, ever thought they were funny. Come to think of it, most young people wax lyrical about Will Ferrell these days and I seriously believe he is the most over-rated (so-called) comedian in the history of movies. Tastes certainly change, don’t they? Juvenile humour today is basically smut. Oops! My age is showing.

  1. Jerry Lewis @#£%&!!!!! What a jerk!Some bitchy comments there all right, Alan as well as poignant ones. Great quotes.

    • Personally, Cat, I thought Jerry was very funny in ‘Scared Stiff’ and ‘Sailor Beware’ when he was with Dino. On his own in later years he was extremely annoying and full of himself.

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